Monday, June 25, 2012

Camp: struggling with silence in the information age

UntitledI dropped off Zoe at her first sleepaway camp on Sunday around 1:30pm, and I've been thinking about her ever since. I spent my 90 minute drive home from Indiana wondering how she was settling in. As we picnicked with friends at the Sunday night concert in Scoville Park, my thoughts turned to her dinner. Was my woefully picky eater eating? Did she pass her swim test? Did she manage to rinse the shampoo and conditioner out of her hair, reapply bug repellent and hang up her towel to dry?

As I read Ada another chapter of Beezus and Ramona, I imagined Zoe settling into Josh's old sleeping bag, perched on a creaky cot in a clapboard shack. Was she talking to the other three girls in her cabin? Were they scared to venture out in the dark to pee? Were the counselors prepared to deal with the giggles, shrieks and possible tears of 12 seven and eight year old Brownies?

I've let Zoe out of my sight plenty of times before, but leaving her in the woods in the care of strangers? That's a new one. As confident as I am in the Girl Scouts organization and my daughter's independent spirit, there was no newsy email from her counselors like I could expect from her grandmother every night she spent in Virginia. No texts, no phone calls, no photos, no Facebook updates. No communication at all until her friend's mom picks her up late Tuesday evening and drives her and her duffle bag full of labeled belongings back to Oak Park.

It shouldn't be such a big deal, but in this age of oversharing (and believe me I'm guilty), it's hard to let go so completely. I can't wait to hear all about her experience--to count her bug bites, hear her camp songs and learn the names of her new best friends--but I'm going to have to. And perhaps her stories will be all the more special simply because they'll be her memories...and they won't be told in real time.