Driving up to camp
It started on the car ride up to camp, with only two of my three boys in the car (the oldest was at the camp, waiting).
The boys were jammed into the backseat and decided to fight for air. Thereby ensued a full blown argument on who was getting more of it. Air.
As a result, each of them took a turn reporting back to me, as we would report to our bosses at work, or, even better, to the judge in a court of law, about our own specific injustice. The air distribution in the car had apparently not been delegated properly, and, you see, that wasn’t fair. Each one needed to get a little more than they were getting. Their lungs were offended by the lack of personal air space available to them.
We are clear that it was AIR they were fighting over, right? Let that sit in your head for a bit. Swish it around your synapses.
Arriving at said camp
Visiting day was one big blur.
There were tears and hugs, zip lines and archery arrows. My 9 year old, the middle one, decided while we were there, visiting, that he wanted to extend his own camp sleepaway experience until the end of the summer. This wouldn’t normally be out of place, if he had already been in camp, settled in, but he wasn’t. It was a request he had before he actually physically joined the camp, set to take place the following week.
My son was essentially pre-emptively asking to not come home. Like, before he was even gone. *audible gasp*
You can imagine the love I was feeling *head hanging low, way down low*.
As I sat there, taking in his request, the archery arrow broke midair, bent backwards, and flew straight through the stillness in the air and slammed into the fabric my heart.
Thankfully, my husband is a cardiologist, as it took his touch to pull that arrow delicately out. His hand on my shoulder also softened the blow.
It felt like a parent fail on some level, my son’s request, and I proceeded, as other mommies would, to read my son’s cries of emancipation for what they really were – the need for mom to have a reality check. Sort of like an annual visit. Moms need to have an annual, reality check.
I looked around and understood that this was where the fun happened, and not home with me. A well-needed reality check.
Instinctively, I reached out for my littlest one and squeeze him with my love, secretly hoping this would prevent him from extending his own camp experience by a week, before he actually got there, years down the line.
The drive home.
The drive home started off with the topic of Halloween. Mind you, this story took place in July. My 5 year old began contemplating his costume options, as he turned to us and asked, “Can I be Hillary Clinton?” Thrown off, and confused, we immediately shot off a quick ‘no’, followed by his next, equally impressive choice, “Garbage can.”
Our pit stop couldn’t come any sooner. As we collected the kids and took a break, we purchased a bushel of farm-grown peaches from the Pennsylvania backroads, and headed back into the car. My 5 year old immediately wanted one.
“Wait,” my husband said. “You can’t eat one because it’s not washed.” To which my 5 year old quickly replied, “Let’s not freak out,” leaving us dumbfounded as to who the adult really was. And this on the heels of the ‘Hillary Clinton’ request.
Even when they are playing around, to me, it still sounds like a war. It’s like a siren has gone off in my ear, both of my ears, in fact, and I just can’t make it stop.
At one point, the word ‘diarrhea’ bounced back and forth between them, from one mouth to the other, which my husband put a stop to abruptly, or so I thought. He was actually correcting them, and properly instructing on appropriate enunciation. Die-ah-rheee-ah.
I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.
As fatigue crept over our middle-aged bodies (it must have been 6 PM by now, which meant bedtime only 2 hours away- our bedtime), the boys only seemed to gain energy with the day’s momentum. I think they’re actually fueling up on energy sucked out of adults. I know it’s not backed by science, but I’m making that claim as a mother. They energize on our account, like the neighbor using our wifi signal, except that they do it with no shame.
The next part of the drive offered more bouncing in the back seat, finding various rhymes to the word ‘chicken poo’, in a rap-like trance. Real Jay-Z’s, my kids. I turned to my husband, eyes glazed over, desperate, and grabbed his arm, “How do they keep going? Do they ever stop?”
His curt reply, “Never.”
At this point, he was weaving in and out of traffic, driving on sidewalks, engaging in constant eye stretches in an effort to keep himself awake. The boys kept going.
As we headed into home stretch, I thought of my own fatigue, and of plans I had made for later, of going out with some girlfriends. And because I was so, so tired, and beat, and sunburnt, and devoid of energy, I decide what was best for me was clear as could be.
I was going out with my friends.
Did you think I was going to stay? With chicken poo rhymes? Incorrectly enunciated diarrhea? Sirens in both ears? Repeated Hillary Clinton costume requests? Arrows through the heart? The need to split air in two? No chance.
Let my hubby do the dirty work tonight.
A slam-dunk ending to the night
My story wouldn’t be complete without a proper ending. That very same night it came at 3 AM. An urgent matter, from the little guy. Two matters, actually:
- are skunks real?
- could we smell his hair?