A letter to our camper on the eve of her return…

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“Your bags are packed, they’re ready to go…”

Dear J:

While it feels like its been an eternity, it also feels like the blink of an eye since I wrote this letter to you on the eve of your departure to summer camp.  I know that it is with very mixed emotions and a heavy heart you will board that big green bus tomorrow to head home to your actual house and our family.  We cannot wait to see you.  But it is with no doubt in my mind after receiving your letters and seeing you in pictures over the last month, that you have indeed found your second home and your camp family.

I could envision you tonight, sitting at the outdoor amphitheater overlooking the lake at camp. Your arms around your bunkmates, swaying to the tune of the song above.  I can hear your staff’s voices singing as many of you likely have tears streaming down your face. It wasn’t long ago that I too stood up there, heart heavy, singing the words to the exact same song to my own crying campers.

While we may not have received many letters (ok three real ones), your last one this week stating, “I miss you, but I am having the best time ever, at the best place ever,” was more than enough.  I hope that you know, your Dad and I could not be prouder of you.   At eight years old you got on a bus knowing less than a handful of other kids.  This bus took you to what I consider “the best place on earth.”  But truly, it’s been up to you to figure out what that actually means.

From the bits I got from the pictures, your letters, and my “spies” all over camp, you have had a smile on your face since you stepped off that bus a month ago.  You were one of only forty kids in the camp play.  You loved “candy canteen” days.  You have made A LOT of new friends.  Color war may not be your thing (you were not in a single picture!). But from what I gather, you had the time of your life.

Coming home from camp can be hard.  (Just ask your Grandma—she used to deal with my return.)  Throughout the next ten months, until you’re back at camp, your memories of this summer will come to you when you least expect them.  You’ll hear a song, smell a particular scent, run in to a camp friend…and no doubt, it all comes flooding back.  I can promise you that even now, thirty years later, I have camp memories that feel like yesterday.

When you and your friends board the big green bus in the morning, it is more than your duffel bags that are coming home with you.  Just know, that wherever you go, these are the friendships and memories which stay with you forever. You’re only eight. The youngest campers at camp.  Summer 2019 is just the beginning.

We love you so much and cannot wait to wrap our arms around you.

We’ll see you in the morning,

XO

Mom

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