The Best Summers of My Life
My parents first sent me to sleepaway camp when I was ten years old. I was lucky though. I didn’t go alone. I went with both of my stepbrothers. And one of them was going to be in the same bunk with me. So I had some help. I had friends.
I didn’t learn until later in life that when my dad put us on the bus for those two months, he got back into the car with my stepmother and cried. I learned this, even more, when I sent my son to sleepaway camp for the first time. I cried often while he was gone. Well, more before I got his first letter saying he was having a great time.
I didn’t understand at the time the gift my parents were giving me. By letting me go away on my own for two months. Sure, maybe they partied all summer. But maybe that’s what they deserved. But I also partied all summer. In my own way. And built the most meaningful relationships of my life.
I still remember that first day like it was yesterday. The fact that it was 38 years ago is both scary and a testament to my memory. Or maybe it’s just weird. But either way, that day is ingrained in my mind because it was the start of a voyage that I still sail today.
There were only six of us in the bunk that first year. And two counselors. There wasn’t really a schedule for what to do once you got there. So the six of us improvised. We immediately went to the softball field and started playing. The newfound freedom we were given by our parents wasn’t lost on us. We were free. To become what we would.
It starts to sink in when you eat that first meal together. And when you go to bed that first night. That you are alone. But not. Away from the parents. But inducted into a family.
One that will be there for you every day. One that will grow with you. And not outgrow you. Because you…