Every mother swears she won't be her. The one who can’t stop looking. The one who has three different devices on hand at all times because reception can be tricky by the water. The one who watches Handmaids’ late at night as a means of distraction, despite the subsequent paranoiac insomnia. I mean, what’s a little dystopian mental torture compared to the utter anguish of not knowing if your kid is OKAY?!?
But indeed, most of us are that mother. And so, some helpful do's and don'ts:
1. WHAT YOU’LL SEE: Your kid in the background of a team sport activity shot looking a little too relaxed. WHAT YOU’LL THINK: Oh, crap, why didn’t I make her stay in Dribble?! She must be hot, I hope she’s drinking enough. DO: Buy her a new swell bottle for visiting day. DO NOT: Send her a Postagram of the time she met LeBron James. Not the kind of camp spirit she needs.
2. WHAT YOU’LL SEE: Your somber child unintentionally photobombing a group of smiling, beaming youngsters who look like they’ve been best friends since birth. WHAT YOU’LL THINK: Should I have sent her to camp earlier? DO: Scroll though smily, old photos of the two of you last summer at Duryea's sharing lobster salad. DO NOT: Call the camp and demand a bunk switch.
3. WHAT YOU’LL SEE: An aerial shot of the entire camp, in uniform, around a campfire. Make sure you have time to peruse this one; it’s a “Where’s Waldo” not for the faint of heart. You’ll mistakenly think 6 kids with frizzy brown hair in messy ponytails are yours, before you really see her, nestled on the lap of a counselor. WHAT YOU'LL THINK: Why won't she cuddle with me like that anymore? DO NOT: Send an email, three letters and sixteen sticker beans. She still loves you.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE: Gaggles of girls enjoying free swim, and the shadow of a left elbow that definitely belongs to your child because you're pretty sure she has those exact eleven bracelets and you’re almost certain that’s the shape of her arm. WHAT YOU’LL THINK: Is that a happy elbow? It looks so grown up! Is she in the shallow end? Why the F is she in the baby end? Don’t they know what a good swimmer she is? DO: Buy her a bright neon bathing suit that's easily spottable. DON'T: Send an email demanding she repeat the deep-water test.
5. WHAT YOU’LL SEE: A photo of your child smiling broadly, arm-in-arm with two girls who you’ve never seen before in your life, though they clearly use the same orthodontist. WHAT YOU’LL THINK: The money shot! I can breathe! She looks happy. Right? Does she look happy? Does that smile seem forced? Like maybe she’s happy, but she’s not that happy. Or maybe she's too happy. DO: Buy this photo, but not before screen shot-ing it and sending it to everyone you know asking if they think she looks happy. DON'T: Spend too long wondering why your daughter isn't wearing her retainer. That thing is gone.
6. WHAT YOU'LL SEE: Nothing. Nada. Endless radio silence on the camp website that has you checking Dark Sky for weather emergencies near Lake George. And then, suddenly, bountiful pictures of gleeful, sporty, nautical, artistic campers with not the faintest hint that your child is even on the premises. WHAT YOU'LL THINK: She broke a bone. She spiked a fever and is moaning for mommy in the infirmary. DON'T: Stop breathing. Do anything rash. DO: Get on instagram. Distract yourself.
After all, the benefit of never being far from hitting refresh, is that you’ll also never be far from insta-stories of happy, childless couples dancing on tables in far-flung locales, having way more fun than a pack of Junior A campers getting ready for crazy skit night. Thank god for them! Hit like!