Charley is spending the night with his Boy Scout troop tonight at a campout for new campers that is being held approximately thirty minutes away from my house. He will be there for approximately eighteen hours, with a whole pack of eleven year old boys and experienced leaders. A half hour from home. For eighteen hours.
When I lived in Florida as a kid (location relevant because this is how I mark time in my childhood, since this occurred in Florida I know it happened before the summer I turned eight, which is when we moved to New York) my parents took me and my sister to Girl Scout camp some distance away from our house for a WEEK.
To reiterate: sometime before the summer I turned eight, in other words, WHEN I WAS SEVEN (James's age) and my sister was SIX, we went to OVERNIGHT CAMP for a WEEK. And I LOVED it. And I am pretty sure my mom and dad joyfully skipped back to the car together, alone, rather than HOLDING BACK TEARS OVER COFFEE the morning of dropoff like SOME PEOPLE (me) were doing this morning.
And they certainly weren't considering taking time off of work to go to a fabric store to find a piece of fabric that felt like our loveys and then sewing it on the inside of our backpacks so we could feel it at night. That would be ridiculous.
If I am remembering childhood and camp correctly, this is how it went. Parents back station wagon up to camp cabin and unload an astonishing number of items to sustain you for a seven-day period, give you an awkwardly long hug and then off they go. For the next seven days the outside world ceases to exist, except for that magical moment when your counselor announces that you will be walking to the convenience store as a cabin to buy candy. Primary concerns become "Will we get to have a 'quick dip' before bedtime tonight?" "Will lunch be edible?" and "Will I be required to endure team sports today?" (in addition, of course, to the typical concerns which arise when a group of adolescent girls attempts to live in quasi-Lord of the Flies-style self-governance).
EIGHTEEN HOURS. I am ridiculous.
(Although, judging by the way I stood in my open front door this morning yelling out to the children, who were standing in torrential rain BESIDE THE UNLOCKED CAR, to "Open the door and get in! Get in the car, guys! Just open the door and get in!" as they looked at me quizzically like I was speaking Klingon to them, I am not convinced that my concerns for their practical skills are completely irrational)
I will report back later this weekend after I remove all the unused changes of clothes from his backpack.