Sand in the Gears

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Letters to camp

May 18th, 2015 Posted in The Art of Parenting

My youngest boys, Isaac and Isaiah (10 and 7), depart today for a week-long summer camp, which is a cause for excitement on their part, and quiet trepidation on mine. “Keep your money in a stinky sock,” I advise them. “If somebody picks on you, that’s the opportunity to forgive and turn the other cheek.” I take 10 year-old Isaac aside to add, however, that he is to level any bigger kids who pick on his little brother. That’s what 13 year-old Eli did for Isaac last year, so it’s a family tradition, and tradition is important in these chaotic times.

When you send your children to this camp, you drop off with them a bundle of envelopes, one for each child, for each day. That way every child gets mail each day, with notes from family members, chewing gum, little flashlights, and whatever other trinkets you want to send along. I know I usually focus on grief, pain, and immanentizing the eschaton here, but I thought you might like to see the notes I wrote to each boy, just so you know that sometimes I am not, in fact, grim.

Tuesday

Dear Isaiah,

I hope that your first day at camp has been fun, and that you haven’t been eaten by bears. I also hope you haven’t eaten any bears because that will give you serious farts. I love you!

                                                                                                                Dad

Dear Isaac,

I hope you’re having fun and haven’t become a wild jungle boy who runs around naked and sleeps in trees and grunts instead of using proper English. Don’t forget that you’re a civilized young man.

                                                                                                                Love, Dad

 

Wednesday

Dear Isaiah,

I’ve been thinking about what I wrote yesterday, about eating bears making you fart, and I believe I was wrong. So if you get a chance to eat a bear, go right ahead. I miss you lots and lots.

                                                                                                                Love, Dad

Dear Isaac,

I was thinking about what I wrote yesterday, about you becoming a wild jungle boy who sleeps in trees, and I guess sleeping in a tree is safer than the ground, so if you have become a wild jungle boy, keep safe from wolves by sleeping in that tree. I miss you!

                                                                                                                Love, Dad

 

Thursday

Dear Isaiah,

I’ve been thinking some more about the bear thing, and while it’s okay to eat a bear, I don’t think I want you running around past bedtime hunting a bear. It’s probably not safe, plus you’ll get mosquito bites. I love you!

                                                                                                                Dad

Dear Isaac (Jungle Boy),

I just read somewhere that mosquitos live in trees, so if you’re sleeping in trees, best wear some clothes so you don’t get bit you-know-where. Hopefully you won’t get kicked out of the jungle boy tribe just for wearing a little underwear.

                                                                                                                Love, Dad

 

Friday

Dear Isaiah,

One more thing about bears: while it’s okay to eat one, and maybe okay to hunt one if you don’t stay up late, it’s definitely not okay to bring one home as a pet. Bears eat too much and they poop all over the yard. I can’t wait until you get home!

                                                                                                                Love, Dad

Dear Jungle Boy (Isaac),

When you’re packing up to come home, don’t forget to look under there

.

.

.

Just made you say underwear!

Which you’d best be wearing when you get home, because your jungle days are over, and it’s time to start being my little boy again. I can’t wait to see you!

                                                                                                                Love, Dad