Tomorrow you are coming home after 24 days at sleep away camp. To say that I’m excited to see you in an understatement. For the last 23 days I have searched through hundreds of pictures each day for your face or even your arm… I have waited patiently for letters that I must have addressed wrong because they never came 😂 I have even at times caught myself creating a narrative of what your day was like based on a photo of you dancing on stage with your bunkmates. I hope one day I get to hear about every moment of the last 23 days but in truth I know that I never will. And maybe I even hope that you have a couple of inside jokes or secrets that I will never know or understand because that is the magic of camp.
Tonight, I am restless… tossing and turning, worrying, and waiting… a parent who never really went to sleep away camp might think it was because I was so excited to see you and don’t get me wrong, I am but see I know better… The reason I can’t sleep tonight is because I’m heartbroken for you. Tonight, is the last night of camp… I remember the friendship circles and the crying and the impending bus ride home. But more than anything I remember the realization that there will never be another summer quite like this one… GFC session 1 2022. There will be next summer, but it will feel like it is years away…
I know you will be torn tomorrow and most likely for the next week. You will be excited to see us and your bed and your shower and let’s not forget your computer and phone, but you will be grieving too. You will miss your friends and counselors. You will miss song sessions and activities and loads of freedom. You might even slightly miss a technology free life lol ok maybe that’s pushing it… the bottom line is that you will be homesick… because I know that camp is also your home. So, I wait… I wait to hug you with everything I have… I wait to look at you and see a slightly taller and more grown-up version of the boy I let go 24 days ago. I wait to methodically unpack your suitcases… washing every inch while possibly searching for some clues of your summer.
I patiently wait to hear your stories. And I wait to see you curled up in your bed missing your people and your place… because that makes all my missing you worth it… friendships and memories that you miss so much it hurts. So, I will soak in the next week (what I refer to as the honeymoon) where you are suddenly more grateful for everything you have and for us… I know it won’t last long and before I know it you and your brothers will be fighting over screentime once again… but tonight instead of sleeping I will write this letter to you or maybe I am actually writing it to me…
Can’t wait to see your face today!
Amanda (Miller) Marrone is an alumna of Greene Family Camp and TOFTY/NFTY-TOR. Amanda is a personal chef and owner of “Food in a Flash”. Amanda and her husband Mike have three boys (Levi, Luca and Isaac) and live in Dallas.