Visiting day 2019.
Son #2 is in a camp that learns, and son #3 is a counselor in camp. Fortunately, both of these camps are on the same campus. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the camp that learns, I will explain. It is a camp for boys who are in high school and older who like to learn Torah-based items but have parents who also want them to get outside once in a while so that they aren’t as white as their white shirts. This camp offers its boys activities and trips, which they can choose not to participate in. Gee, I wonder who I am talking about. I was able to see son #2’s sleeping quarters. It is a bunch of bunk beds and a bunch of tables and chairs, so if you cannot sleep, you can walk over, sit at one of the tables, and learn until you feel you can fall back asleep. Then all you have to do is walk back to your bed. There are three meals a day, which is great because if son #2 is left to fend for his own food, he might forget to eat.
In any event, we pick up son #2 and then head off to see son #3, who has to stay in his bunk to meet the parents of the kids he is in charge of for seven weeks and no days (as opposed to the olden days, when camp was actually eight weeks long, then seven weeks and six days, and now seven weeks and no days, but costs more than it did when it was eight weeks.) It is actually really nice to watch your son speak to parents — very mature and responsible, lots of nachas.
What is the magic of visiting day? Is it seeing people who ignore you all year long and continue to ignore you when you walk right by them in a camp setting? Is it knowing how much weight you have lost/gained since last visiting day? And sticking with that topic, why when you gain weight does no one say to you “Hey, is everything OK? You are twice the size you were last year!” But if you lose weight, it’s OK to say, “Hey, is everything OK? You can fit through a door way again!” OK, it seems I am spinning here.
I need to refocus.
Back to visiting day.
I was thinking back to my first visiting day, when all three monkeys were in camp. That was back in the day when kids wrote letters to their parents. Letters. With a pen and paper. Or a post card that was pre-addressed to aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I still remember the competition on my block with a neighbor who liked telling us how many letters their boys wrote to them, while we would stare longingly at our empty mailbox, wondering what we did wrong… Sigh… When we would finally get a letter, it would start with, “Hi. Camp is fun. I need etc. etc. etc.” I would get everything they asked for, make organized lists and piles of items. When visiting day finally would come, I was ready. We were on the road and at camp way before start time, with hundreds of other crazy parents who got there early. The joy on our kids faces! Which lasted for about 13 minutes, before the fighting started. Good times.
And then we will fast forward to this visiting day. Son #2 asked for two things, and I remembered to bring only one of them. Son #3 asked for two food items that I only went to buy the morning of visiting day — and of course overpaid for them. (Don’t tell husband #1.) Such is the passage of time. You go from being the young parents who still have kids home for the summer to being the older parents who need to go to the bathroom two or three times over the course of four hours. You go from writing to your kids a week before camp starts so they have mail waiting for them to forgetting to order bunk notes. Yup, that’s the way it goes.
But no matter what stage you are in life, there is always traffic driving home. Always. No matter when you leave. It’s nice to know that some things never change.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is happy to report that son #1 will be living at home for a few weeks. She plans on staring at him while he sleeps like she did when he was a baby. She hopes this doesn’t freak him out.