Homesick and I’m Miserable

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Well, the summer is halfway gone and I am thrilled with all of the beautiful pictures that I see on Facebook.  Kids have big smiles with different types of signs that were prearranged with mom and dad before leaving for camp:

  • thumbs up
  • touching ears
  • finger on nose
  • looking up in the sky
  • looking down to the ground

I even have one family that asked their kids to moon them!!!  Whatever it was, the camp papparazzi are chasing the kids to send home the pics that the parents DEMAND.  And yes, everyone knows refresh refresh!!!  And then that all telling sign doesn’t appear in the photo. AND you have received that dreaded “bad letter home”.

Dear Mom and Dad,

I hate the kids.  The kids hate me.  The food sucks.  My counselor is mean.  My counselor doesn’t like me as much.  I am not getting picked on the team.  I’m getting picked too much.  Save me! Please take me home.  I hate it here…..

Save me,

Suzie

You start the conversation with your spouse.  OMG!!!!!  We have to get her out of there.  What are they doing at this camp.  I thought it was supposed to be good?  Why did we spend so much money for them to be unhappy.  OMG!!!  I am going to call the camp director right now and make sure that this is taken care of immediately.  I must talk to Suzie/Johnny!!  I will know if they are okay.  I am the mother.  I know they will tell me the truth.

The process begins and the yelling begins and Suzie is dragged to the phone to talk to mom and dad.  And she’s crying.  And you are absolutely beside yourself and swear you will come pick her up right away.  Don’t worry my baby, I will take care of you, tell mommy why you are crying? And finally, after doing all the talking, you finally let your daughter (or son) speak and tell you why they are crying.

Suzie:  Why did you make me come to the phone?  I was about to get on stage/take my turn at bat/get up on water skis/sing happy birthday to my very best friend at camp……

Mom:  You said you hated camp and I was so concerned?

Suzie:  I did?  I don’t remember.  Well, I don’t hate camp.  I love it here.  I want to stay all summer.  Please let me … Please… Please….

And that is the typical conversation that goes on.  And yet, I have talked a few moms off the ledge. Suzie or Johnny really are having a bit of a tough time.  They are homesick.  And several letters come home sad.  And I have put on my therapist hat as a Camp Expert and helped walk parents (especially moms) away from the phone and let the kids make it through the sadness and hard work of overcoming homesickness.  And 99.99% of the time, voila!!  Two weeks go by and the sadness is over and they still have at least one week left of camp and they are happy, successful and strong.  And as a parent, you had the extra glass of wine (or martini — for sure, martini) to stop yourself from saving your child and allowed them to save themselves.

And that my friends, is what being a good mom is all about.  Letting your child learn how to save themselves.

So go back to cleaning your closets, working out more, reading the book you’ve waited so long to read and when they get off the plane or you go to pick them up from camp, bring a big trophy to say YOU MADE IT!  On the other hand, just give them a big hug and say how happy you are to see them.  They probably forgot they were homesick at all…..

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