Oh noooo, I think Zoey is super sad at camp!!

Does your kid’s camp post pictures online? So you can get a small glimpse into what they’re doing all day? Zoey’s does. And I know it’s supposed to make me feel good (about the 9 million dollars I spent there), but let me tell you something. It is turning me into a CRAZY person. Because this is what I do.

Refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, allllllll morning long until I have carpal tunnel from my wrists up to my eyeballs. Has the camp posted pictures yet today? Are they up, are they up, are they up?

I’ve refreshed so many times that I think maybe I’ve broken the link so I close my browser and start over again just to make sure. Nope, still not up. Grrrrrrr. What is wrong with this camp?!!! Don’t they know there are hundreds of moms staring at their screens just waiting? What on earth could be more important than putting up the pictures?!!! Oh yeah, maybe feeding and clothing and keeping a thousand campers alive. But AGGGHHHHHH, we are waiting here, people!

And then finally I refresh my browser and badabing, they’re up!!! Wahooooo!!!! So I start the painful task of looking at each and every picture. Literally EVERY-SINGLE-ONE. I mean yeah I could just look for the ones of girls her age, but then I might miss one where she’s in the background far away and blurry. It’s like Where’s Waldo only it’s Where’s Zoey and instead of looking for a red and white striped shirt and I’m looking for her rainbow bathing suit in a sea of a thousand girls. A thousand smiling girls who aren’t mine.

Not her not her not her not her. Wait, is that her back? No, too tall. And then finally, I see her. Now let me give you a little background here.

After the first day of camp, these are the pictures I saw:

Clearly she’s having the best time ever. Smiling! Cheering! With all her new friends! Yayyy, my girl LOVES camp!!

And then a day or two later, this is the picture I found. I’d recognize her blue raincoat and cheek anywhere. But seriously? One measly picture??

WTF? I mean I guess at least I know she’s alive. 

And then the next few days go by with NOTHING. Don’t get me wrong. There are pictures. HUNDREDS of them. Like my friend’s kid is smiling in every other one (I’m pretty sure she’s chase-quickpaying money to the photographer). But NONE of Zoey. I am convinced the camp has lost my child and just aren’t telling me. 

But yesterday I woke up at 5am to start refreshing my browser. Click, nothing. Click, nothing. Click, nothing. Click, there it is! 282 pictures!! Yessss. So I start the tedious task of examining every single picture and then…

THERE SHE IS!! She’s alive!! SHE’S ALIIIIIIVE!!!! But wait—why does she look so sad? Is she homesick? Is she having trouble making friends? Does she hate it there? Oh nooo, based on this one single picture, I am 100% convinced she’s having the worst time ever.

So I stress and obsess over it and keep torturing myself and going back to look at her sad little face all day long.

But hours later something pops into my head. A thought. An actual rational logical sane thought. Wait a sec, I know why she’s not smiling. Because she’s climbing a wall. A CLIMBING WALL!! She’s focused. It’d be weird if she was grinning ear-to-ear while she’s doing that. Like one of those super annoying people who smiles constantly who I slowly back away from at social events. And it’s not like the photographer who goes around taking pictures of the kids at camp tells them to look here and smile all the time. He’s capturing them in the moment. 

The rational side of me decides there are two major things I can surmise from the picture. That A. she’s alive. And B. she’s climbing a wall. Period. And that’s wayyy more than my parents ever got when they sent us to camp back in the day when the Internet didn’t exist yet. 

So I make a vow. That tomorrow I’m gonna be different. I’ll just go about my day and forget about the pictures and casually look at them later that night if I remember, and if I find one of her I won’t obsess over whether she’s smiling or not. Well, I’ll try to be that way. And I’ll fail. Miserably. Because I’m a mom and it’s basically in my job description to obsess over the pictures. But at least camp is only a few weeks out of the year and thank God school doesn’t post pictures every day for me to obsess over. I wish they did. Kind of. No I don’t. But I do a little. 

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There are 7 comments for this article
  1. Lynn at 10:04 am

    Ha! My kids’ camp is only a day camp; I pick them up every day and I STILL do this! I want confirmation of what their physical well-being is already telling me. Luckily they don’t post pics every day, otherwise I’d never get anything else done!

  2. Holly Patterson at 10:16 am

    You’re killing me this week 🙂 My 10yr old son is also away at camp and I have absolutely no idea how he is. He was excited to go right up to the minute we got to the bus pick up stop. All of a sudden he started to come up with reasons he didn’t want to go. First was that this particular camp has the boys and girls of the same age in the same cabin albeit separated entirely. He all of a sudden hated that idea because what if the girls saw him and he’d have no privacy. Once we explained that there are privacy curtains he moved onto the next one. Now despite the fact that he is 100% bilingual and he goes to a French school he wishes he didn’t have to go to an all French camp because what if he didn’t understand them when they talked. I had to remind him that he is bilingual. Next one was what if I really hate it there and they won’t let me talk to you. To that one I explained that if it was truly awful and he couldn’t settle I would drive there and pick him up.

    He got on the bus with his friend after giving me a big hug and whispering in my ear that he didn’t want to go, tears rolling down his cheeks. Hardest d**n thing I have ever done in my life.

    He went to a different camp last year that posted daily pics and I became that obsessed mom poring over every pic hoping for a glance but there was not even one 🙁 This year the new camp does not post pics so I’m a little less of a lunatic but man I can’t wait for him to come home.

    I hope and pray he is having a great time, that he’s made new friends and that this experience shows him that nerves are natural and plowing through them gets you to the great fun times that you’ve would’ve never known if you gave up.

    His bus returns at 4pm this Friday and I’m counting down the minutes 🙂

  3. Liz at 11:11 am

    What is she saying about camp is way more important than them catching her with a smile or worst a posed fake smile!

  4. Helen at 11:38 am

    My 16 year old son will be going to away to Army Cadets camp for 6 weeks. He’s a member of the civilian army cadets. There’s no combat involved. It’s a year long course that teaches the kids leadership as they progress through the course. At the end if the school year, they have a graduation ceremony and parade. We’re so proud of him in his uniform. As he goes up in ranks, he gets to take on more leadership at the summer camp. He’s excited about going to camp and being with his buddies again.

    We get to visit him at the 3 week halfway mark. And get this, they even pay him $10 a day for going to camp and there are no fees at all with this camp. The cost is covered by the National Defence.

    I’m sure we’ll miss him and the house will be so quiet. But we know that it’s a great opportunity for him.

  5. Kate G at 8:04 pm

    This is the most accurate thing I’ve read today. This is me every single minute they are at camp. My friend and I worry that the site administrators for the camp can see how many times we log in per day and think we’re crazy people. So this completely cracked me up.

  6. Anne Drury at 10:05 pm

    Relax… trust me, these are amazing experiences you are giving her…. quit beating yourself up. We will never be free of these little crotch trophies if we keep then under our wings forever… let her mess up, let her come home with bug bites and scrapes… she is building and learning something we can’t teach…. independence.

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