10 Days Away

Oh my God, you guys. I am ten days away from seeing my little J.

Holy crap, this is absolutely the worst. Apparently, I was pretty anxious last year when J went to Smirkus Camp, because I wrote about retaining that parting image of our children.

This year, it’s worse. After saying, repeatedly, that she’d like to do the special 2-week advanced camp, J’s enthusiasm had cooled, but we had already spent approximately a crap-ton of non-refundable money for the experience, so we all knew that she was heading to camp. She was not psyched. She was worried about being away from us for so long, not sure if she’d find people she’d like, and stressed about missing gymnastics practice.

I left her at camp on Sunday, actively weepy and trying to compose herself. It was awful.

Of  course we’ve been obsessively checking the camp’s photo account. The first day there was one image that was not particularly reassuring: a whole group of kids looking unbelievably psyched, with J looking meek and half-hearted next to a young woman who appeared to be the counselor assigned to prevent J from having a complete emotional breakdown. You might think that I’m, like, constructing this false narrative, but if you know my daughter and go find the image, you’ll see that the nearest individual is a young woman wearing Smirkus gear who looks both joyful and solicitous as she leans toward J. Another image was mildly more reassuring: J walking with another kid. A friend? Oh please-please-please! But in that one, she and the other girl are blurred figures seen from behind, walking in the margins of a shot that focuses on a crowd of euphoric leaping campers.

Since then, there’s only been one more photo, and it’s this little gem:


Wow, you guys. If I had wanted a picture of the back of my daughter’s head, I could have looked at this stupid blog! . . . . I know you’re right. I am being unreasonable. This picture shows many kids. They are clearly doing. . . some activity. And yet, this is in no way reassuring. In fact, it is so lacking in information about my daughter’s emotional state that I am hyper-analyzing. Is her posture more tense than usual? Why is she going against the rest of the group? Is that older kid looking at her because she looks like she’s about to burst into tears?

I made some little mew of dismay over the last set of photos, which didn’t even contain a fraction of a back view of my daughter. M came over to listen to me complain. “Mom, they probably don’t want to post any pictures of her because she’s always crying,” she joked. I said, “That’s EXACTLY what I’m thinking!!” She chuckled, but. . . come on! In the whole group of kids arriving at this camp on Sunday, I’d say that 60% looked deliriously happy to be there, 25% were too focused on their juggling to betray any sort of emotion, 10% looked like they could start having some fun if only their freakin’ parents would leave already, and maybe 5% looked super-tense and borderline-weepy. This is a wild guess, because the truth is that the only kid I saw who looked super-tense and borderline-weepy was my kid. So couldn’t they, maybe, have counselors take a note of those 5% of kids so that photographers could post pictures of those kids smiling later? Please?

M thought that I was being comically unreasonable, but when Cute W arrived home from work, the subject of the camp photos came up right away. Cute W was full of righteous anger. “I want to see her hanging upside down from one of those aerial silks, doing something cool, and smiling,” he declared.

What followed was a family discussion of the photos thus far displayed. It’s possible that there was even some critiquing of children’s form and indignation when multiple images of the same happy faces appeared repeatedly. I’m not proud of this.  But where is the justice?

Before she’d even left for camp, I’d mailed J a card with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a form with multiple choice questions (ie. “Camp is A) Wonderful; B) Okay, I guess; C) Horrible”), so I’m hoping that she actually sends that back to me in a timely manner. And until then, I’ll just have to search to analyze that long ponytail and hope that no news is good news.

So, you guys, guess what happened?

I had just hit “publish” and I was opening up Facebook to share the link to this post when Cute W came into the room and announced that new photos had been added to the account. Including multiple images of our kid’s face. In the very last one, guess what? She’s totally smiling.


  1. sunny savannah

    Glad to hear smiles finally came your way! Our card is in the mail to her so she should get it Friday or Saturday.

  2. Thank you! Just finally got my self-addressed mail back from her. She says she’s doing great and having fun. Phew!

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