What did I sign up for?

For the past couple of years, I have been begging my boys to go to summer camp. Every year it’s the same old story. They just love their sweet mama too much to leave her for a week to go off and swim in a lake, canoe, drink soda pop and not shower. I am an awesome mom.

OK… maybe that’s not exactly true. But for several different reasons, they just weren’t sure if they wanted to go.

This year, I realized that not only are both boys old enough to go to camp for a full week, but my daughter is old enough to go away to camp for a couple of days, too.

Without telling them or asking them and thus, opening the door for them to worry about who they will know and what happens if they get sick and what if it rains and yada, yada, yada, I signed them all up for camp.

A few days later, I casually revealed the news, which resulted in shouts and cheers of delight. I’m not sure if it was because I had been talkin’ with my southern accent all week or if it had somethin’ to do with me feedin’ ’em nothin’ but plain pasta for dinner every night. But one way or another, they couldn’t wait to go away to camp!

They ran over to the home of their experienced camp-going friends and revealed the news. This brought out all sorts of advice on what happens at summer camp.

They came home bursting at the seams with all of the information they had acquired. The louder the camp counselor, the more fun they will have! If they drink all of their water for the day, they can drink pop! And most importantly, their moms will send them care packages!


No where on the web site for this summer camp did they say one word about the mom needing to send care packages. My heart sank. It has been years since I’ve really used the post office. I pay all of our bills online. I send all of my birthday greetings via Facebook. If I need to send a gift, I just ask Amazon to ship it.

How on earth would I be able to put together a care package, get it to the post office and time it correctly so it arrived in southern Wisconsin while my kids were at camp?

Could I just send all of their care packages in one box and they could divide the spoils? 

“No!” they informed me. They would each be in a separate cabin and they would each need their own care package every single day. Their friend had already told them how horrible it was his first year at camp when his mom didn’t know to send a care package, and he was the only kid in his entire cabin without a box full of Oreos, Pringles and candy bars. Oh my.

Now, not only did I have to successfully send one box and hope that it arrived somewhere within the window of time they were at camp, I actually had to put together three boxes per day and get them all to camp on the correct days.

I started thinking about the time I went to the post office, and I was the ONLY person in the place. I walked up to the counter to mail my package. The postal worker lifted her eyes and glared at me.

“You’re supposed to take a number,” she instructed.

“But… but… I’m the only person here,” I meekly tried to explain.

“It doesn’t matter! You need to take a number.”

I was sweating now, trying to come up with some other way to get around daily trips to the post office. How about if I pack the care packages in your luggage and each day you can grab one and then pretend you got it at the camp post office!?

“No, mom,” they said. “The other kids will know.”

How about if I just send you an e-mail with a gift card you can use when you get back home?!?

“No, mom. It has to come through the post office.”

Oh, man. I only have 10 weeks left until camp. I better start collecting boxes and reading up on the USPS web site on delivery times if I’m going to have any hope of surviving summer camp.

I turned to my experienced summer camp mom friend in distress. How can I possibly get around this secret summer camp requirement?

Just drop off the boxes at the camp post office and label them with the days you want them delivered. The camp counselors will deliver them to your children on the correct days.


What a relief! I can sleep again at night. And ummm… there’s a certain mama who might be almost as excited as her three kids about summer camp.


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I’m Emily

Storyteller. Photographer. Creative.

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