Life in General

When they call from camp…

It’s finally Sunday. I keep checking my watch, although I don’t know why since the camp did not give a specific time that my 12 year old would call. He’s been in camp 10 days already; I’ve seen him in only two pictures so far. My daughter and 10 year old son had already called from camp on Friday. Now I awaited the call from my 12 year old; I looked forward to hearing his voice so I could assess how things are going in camp.

It’s kind of like a never ending jigsaw puzzle – trying to piece together from what they look like in the camp photos, together with their tone of voice, the sound of their breathing over the phone, their pauses and the actual words they are saying – all to figure out how they are doing in camp. Of course it’s an impossible puzzle to try, but we mother’s love to do things that are impossible, so we try anyway.

The phone rings. It’s him!

”Hello!” I answer breathlessly. “Tell me all about camp! The flight! Your bunkhouse, your counselor – I’m listening!”

He laughs, and starts launching into details about his flight, the bunkhouse, his counselor, his bunk mates.

My breathing slowly regulates – he sounds good!

“But would you believe it, I got the worst mattress in the whole bunk!”

My heart drops. “You’re serious?! What’s wrong with it?!”

“Well, the other mattresses all have a foam piece on top to make it soft and mine doesn’t.”

Oh no! My mind starts racing. He was nervous to go to camp to begin with. He likes being in his own bed. And now not only is he not in his own bed, he has the worst bed! I’ve got to fix this, should I call the director? Yes, I should definitely call the director as soon as I hang up. Maybe they have an extra piece for his mattress somewhere in camp. Better yet, I’m sure I can find something like the foam mattress topper he’s describing on Amazon and ship it to him in camp. Yes, I must do that. I’m about to swipe open Amazon, but I pause to hear what he’s saying.

“Anyways, I got used to it so it’s really fine. But I should’ve taken two pillows, it’s really uncomfortable with just one. Like it feels so low down.”

My finger is back on Amazon. I must send him another pillow. He needs his sleep, especially in camp.

“Are you able to sleep ok?” I ask, pausing before adding the pillow to cart.

“Well, I had a really good idea. I folded my spare pillow case and put it inside the pillow case with my pillow and now it’s so much better!”

I realize I’m holding my breath and start breathing again. Phew, he doesn’t need the pillow. I close Amazon.

“And you know what else – guess where the bathroom light shines when the door is open?! Right on my bed! Right into my eyes!” Yes, he is a bit dramatic, but I’m panicking once again.

Eye masks! Argh, we happen to have so many all around the house. I must add that to camp packing lists, what a pity he didn’t take any! How’s he supposed to sleep with the light in his eyes every time the door opens! Poor kid!

I’m back on Amazon, searching for eye masks. I see packages of a dozen. I’ll just send him the full pack, he will figure it out.

“So what have you been doing?” I hold my breath, waiting to hear just how terrible it is. I mean, the light shines in his eyes!

I can hear the smile in his voice.

“Another kid in my bunk gave me the best idea! I hung up my extra quilt cover along the side of my bottom bunkbed like a curtain, and now it blocks the light!”

He chatted a bit more and then time was up.

We hung up and I closed Amazon again.

I didn’t need to send him anything.

He sounded good.

I mean, I think so.

Of course you can never be sure just from a 10 minute phone call. I mean, what if there were things he wanted to say but couldn’t say because there were people around?

But he did sound good.

So it must be working out well.

He would have at least hinted to something if there were issues.

I hope.

I know I’m going in circles, but I can’t help it.

I go to see if there are new pictures up; perhaps they were posted in the minutes while I was talking to my son.

There aren’t any.

I sit and think about the conversation.

We mothers mean well. All we want is for our kids to be happy. But it’s so easy for us to get in the way of their success by trying to troubleshoot even the smallest obstacle that comes their way, instead of giving them the space to come up with their own solutions. Oh, the self control it takes to keep quiet when we know we have a good fix for a situation! And I have a feeling this only gets harder and harder as the kids get older and become adults themselves…

I was ready to ship him a new pillow, an eye mask or really just about anything else to make sure he was happy, before even hearing the end of his sentence. I do admit, Amazon is the solution to a lot of life’s challenges … but not to everything.

Kids are so resilient and resourceful…as long as we let them, instead of getting in their way.

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