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July 17, 2021

Letter From Camp

I'm happy to have Amy Howorth as a guest blogger today. Check out her blog, WiredElvis (a blog about a mom and her adventures in a wired world that still needs Elvis...) I love Amy's style and her humor. Check out this post and you'll become a fan, too!

Would it kill them? To send me a little card saying that they are alive? Other campers must be sending their parents letters. Maybe essays, maybe line drawings that will someday be the basis for their college applications:

"Dear Harvard, while most children ignored their parents entirely while at summer camp, I made these whimsical drawings to illustrate my contemplative time in the forest. They are now hanging in the Whitney Museum, but are also on my Facebook page for your reference..."

No, my sons are out of touch. Trapped, for  all I know, under a fallen tree that I have not heard fall. I cursed them the other day while talking to my mother via the land line (my cell doesn't work at my house.  It's like I'm camping...). "Mom, I have sent them something every day! Cute cards! Magazines! Candy! And I get nothing."

Amused silence at the other end of the phone. I know it is amused, because when she is pissed and silent, she has usually hung up the phone. "Amy, that's what you did when you went away to camp. I sent you TONS OF CARDS AND YOU NEVER ONCE SENT ME ANYTHING."

By the way, the all caps are not a typo. My 83-year-old mother is talking in all caps. 

Now it is me who is silent. This cannot be. For one, I am a girl. Girls are more communicative. Secondly, I remember getting her cards. In fact, I have saved every one of those cards, and surely I would have sent some little note back. Surely, I knew how it made me feel and I would have wanted her to feel the same way.

But, sadly no. I was 10, 11, 12. About the age of my youngest now. And pre-teens are spectacularly self-centered. And they are supposed to be. I was receiving those letters, my animal brain rationalized, because I should. Because it was my right. Because my mother loved me. And she never made me feel like there was anything expected in return. And I didn't disappoint her in that.  

So, I am grateful that my mom helped me rethink my position. They are just being kids. Having a great time at camp. Away from their hovering mother. They are doing exactly what they should be doing. I will keep sending letters without any expectation of a reply. Because that is exactly what I should be doing.

And then, improbably enough, I receive a letter from camp. My youngest telling me "thanks for sending me the letters mom. It made me feel loved." My son wrote that. To me.  

And now I am the happy camper.  


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