Why is Sending Kids to Sleepaway Camp so Freakin' Stressful?

Sending the kids to camp is supposed to be this delightfully awesome time of freedom and reprieve, but it's not for me.
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Sending the kids to camp is supposed to be this delightfully awesome time of freedom and reprieve, but it's not for me.

As you can tell from a recent post on my blog, (Confessions of an Irrational Mom), I've been totally anxiety-stricken lately. I wasn't able to put my finger on why until I looked at my finger and saw that I'd done this to my beautifully manicured gel nails:
Since this pic, I've ripped the overlay completely off with my teeth and bitten them to the quick.

Then it dawned on me: It's camp. Sending my son to camp makes me mildly certifiable. Knowing I have NO control over whether my baby puts on sunblock, brushes his teeth, eats Fruity Pebbles everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, runs with flip-flops on rocky terrain or doesn't make the intercamp team. What if someone takes advantage of him?

Look, I get it -- those are all the reasons I sent my son to camp (well not the taken advantage of stuff, but the other stuff): to get some independence, to make new friends, to have fun, to get away from us, to get away from fighting with his sister, to have unique experiences and to learn that he doesn't need us reminding him of every little thing.


But this is the same child who asked me to pack him a comforter this year.

"Um, I packed you a comforter last year, I bought it specifically for camp."

"Nu-uh, you just sent that Yankees blanket."

My son had spent the summer in upstate NY shivering under a throw, which was about the size of a baby blanket, and never thought to ask a counselor if they'd seen something a bit warmer in his bag or write us to inquire.

So, I do get the logical stuff, but I also know kids.

Plus, there's an illogical part of my mind that's hard to argue with, as it's already been established that it doesn't believe in what makes sense to begin with. Hence warranting the moniker, "illogical."

That's the part that tells me not to take Xanax on a plane because I may need all my wits about me to save my family, other passengers and possibly help land the thing.

That's the part that heard my son tell me at the airport that he'd just used the money I gave him and bought Jolly Ranchers, and all I could think was, really, you had to get hard candy?

There I was about to ship my son off to camp for half a summer, and I was worrying about him buying a bag of hard candies, oh, the irony. You can only imagine the stuff that I'm capable of making up in my head when I have no human contact for an extended time period.

When I went to camp, I never considered what was going on -- on the other side. What the parents were dealing with. They didn't even have daily pictures to wait for at all hours of the night -- to scour for smiles, joy and proof that their child is still safe and at accounted for. Frankly, I don't know how they survived the summer without that modern perk!

Yet, I got the feeling those parents were mostly happy to get rid of us. They embraced their freedom, taking trips abroad and doing whatever it was parents did without us around in the 80's -- smoked cigarettes and went to key parties, I'm assuming.

Some moms still do -- embrace their freedom, that is. I don't know much about modern-day key parties, though I hear swinging is making a comeback.

Anyhoo, I hate those bitches! Those moms that truly believe all will be good, that see this as a chance to get some space, maybe take a trip, see if they still love their spouses -- they're too evolved.

You know, the one's that aren't worrying if their kids will choke on hard candies, or about the plane or bus, or neglected hygiene, or trouble with social interaction, or bad choices or the other myriad of possibilities. They're confident in the logic that says their children will have a great/safe summer and they will enjoy the reprieve.

Camp is as delightful for them as it is for the kids and it's seems too effortless and uncomplicated and normal -- and way out of my reach. So, I'll do what the rest of us do: Enjoy my days with that smidgen of underlying worry, stay up 'til all hours waiting for pics to download (sometimes continuously refreshing to get one at a time), send an email at least once a day trying to make mundane stuff like what the dog is doing, where we found the cat hiding and what we had for dinner seem fascinating and hope that he has as an awesome summer.

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