It’s “Camp Granada” Time for Spence Once More

It’s “Camp Granada” Time for Spence Once More

It’s “Camp Granada” Time for Spence Once More


We dropped Spence off at summer camp in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Last year, his first time at sleep-away camp, I would have been able to tell you precisely how many hours he had been away thus far as well as how many minutes until his scheduled return. This year, I’ve graduated to counting days. It’s funny how things get a little bit easier the second time around.

So I tell myself.

Last year, we had to leave him without a hug since it was more than his pre-teen pride could take in front of a swarm of young boys who had already said their goodbyes. This year, he made sure to find a private moment to give me a nice long squeeze before we left. It was a glorious hug: long enough for me to breathe in the coconut-scented shampoo he had used a few hours prior, long enough to make me teary-eyed, and long enough to confirm that a single week at camp, rather than the two he had requested, is quite, well, long enough.

It’s eerily quiet around our home. No one has peed on the toilet seat in the last 24-hours. The couch cushions have remained in place for two whole days instead of having been strewn about the family room floor or built into a fort. The gallon of milk was not left to curdle on the counter this morning, and the TV has never felt so ignored.

Why do I find myself missing these annoyances I readily curse?

Why did I pop into his bedroom yesterday with the sole mission of opening up his windows to air out his room so it would be fresh for a boy who was actually sleeping elsewhere? Since when do I “air rooms out” anyway?

Why do I wish, for once, that he had his blasted phone on him just to be able to sneak a text in saying, “Love you! Have fun. Sleep tight.”

Four days left and counting until his return.

But don’t ask me how many hours are left.

I’ve moved way beyond that.


Here’s a glimpse into how our summer camp experience went down last year.




Spence is at camp: his first sleep-away camp.

It’s a camp that he’s been over-the-moon excited about for months now. We dropped him off on Sunday, up in central Wisconsin, and parted with him in front of a group of other 11-year-old boys meaning a kiss or hug or even a simple, “I love you, Bud.” was strictly forbidden.

I must have walked backwards, down a stony hill, in flip-flops no less, for half a block in the hopes of blowing him a clandestine kiss, but to no avail. My typically loving, laughing, goofy boy was all seriousness and was focused solely on being absorbed into the group of campers and counselors who he knew would be his constant and only companions for the next week. He wouldn’t even spare a glance my way. He was scared stiff, and that’s how I had to leave him. Unhugged and afraid.

The kids are not allowed to text or call home, so I’ve been left to ruminate. Is he homesick? Has he made any friends? I told him to use his bug spray. Is he using his bug spray? Is it raining? Has he developed a rash from poison ivy, poison oak, and gotten ptomaine poisoning simultaneously? Good God, has he contracted Malaria and/or West Nile from not using the damn bug spray? Is he sitting alone in a corner with a raging fever itching from head to toe?

Have I possibly left my dear, young son at Camp Granada on steroids?!

There was no way of knowing until, bless his reliable heart, Tony the mailman plopped a letter from Spence in our mailbox yesterday afternoon and suddenly it felt like Christmas in July! Miraculously he’s fine, he’s happy, he’s busy, he carved a sailboat in wood crafting, shot a bull’s-eye in archery, and does not, in fact, have any sort of disease or poisoning whatsoever.

Knew it!

His last line in his letter was, “I’m having a blast here, but don’t worry, Mom, you only have to wait four more days to hug me.”

My boy knows me all too well.


You know what? I guess I do sound a little less manic about camp this year.

Maybe, just maybe, not only Spence has matured a little over the past 12 months . . . and three 1/2 days.

(And five hours and 13 minutes.)

Written by Becky


  • Debbie says:

    Your post reminds me of dropping my boys off to camp at Spencer’s age and hoping they were having a great time, hoping for one of those “I love camp and can’t wait to return” weeks. The day we picked them up they were both at the entrance gates looking for our car….making sure they were both the first two campers to be rescued. Not sure why camp was such a bust for them….but a funny memory to me now. I hope Spencer is having a terrific week and I understand counting the days until he is home.

    • Becky says:

      That’s so funny about your boys standing at the gate, Debbie! At least they had each other (if that was any consolation at that age!)

  • Mary Lou Sandvik says:

    Hi Becky…I only have to recall Girl Scout Camp to bring up some of the most delightful, important lessons I learned as an 11-yr.-old. The main difference though, was that my older sister was lodged in another unit fairly close to mine so I had a feeling of security. I learned lots about personalities and chores and I learned to swim at that camp. Spencer will benefit in some way or other from his experience. And you and Heather also had a camp experience to recall. It’s a valuable part of growing up and leaving your parents for a bit. YLM

    • Becky says:

      Yeah, come to think of it, I didn’t particularly enjoy my week at camp, but I surely remember it very clearly!

  • Cyndi Smith says:

    DJ just returned from 4 days at church camp in Indiana. With Kara away in France, I had a glimpse of what ’empty nest’ will feel like in just 2.5 short weeks….and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I love having them here…even the fighting…I’m so excited for each of them…Kara in her Senior year at ISU and DJ just beginning his college career – big years for them both! How did the years fly by sooo fast!?

    Thanks for your blog, Becky…it’s days like today that really resonate with me and make me think of how blessed we are! Love you!!

    • Becky says:

      Aw, thanks, Cyndi! Love you, too!

      Yes, this is a year of change for both of us, isn’t it? Logan heads to Northwestern’s band camp a month from today, and from that point forward, nothing will ever be the same. I’m so incredibly glad though that he’ll be nearby, as I’m sure you are as well. It makes all the difference in the world.

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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