Tuesday, June 28, 2011
When we got the kids up to camp, I helped them unpack. The minimalist was unpacked with ease. There was a space for everything. When I moved down the row of cabins to see her older sister, I was stumped anew. I still couldn't figure out what she had packed, much less where we would put it all. And then out came a big case of makeup, a big bag of hair products and perfume, a bunch of crazy outfits for wacky dress up nights and a bunch of pretty outfits for other nights - all this from the luggage of a kid who is not even remotely a princess in her city life! Then I saw some of her friends unpacking similarly ridiculous items. Everything was unpacked with the seemingly clear understanding among a gaggle of teenage girls that it was all to be shared. That's when I realized that the crazy packing had been planned by committee - each camper agreeing to do her part by bringing an ample supply of "stuff" to share with the group. At this point, these girls have been going to camp together for the last 6 years and their friendships have transcended the summer camp experience. They are life friends that plan all year long for their summer together. The "stuff" they bring is part and parcel of a master plan. I can't lie, I still teased her about the insanity of her packing (which was completely outdone, mind you, by at least one of her bunk mates and probably more) but it was good-natured and light-hearted and based in understanding as well as appreciation of the strength and importance of the bonds of camp friendships. Sometimes the best a mom can do is help find a place for "stuff" rather than dwell on and question the necessity of it all. At the end of the day, all I really want from the summer is that each of my kids has the greatest experience possible and if it takes some makeup, a few cute tops and 9 pairs of shoes to do it, then I can show my support by taking a hammer out of my bag (true story: I brought a hammer and nails!) and start giving her some extra hooks and shelving.
Packing for Mars, which I heartily endorse once again. Mary Roach has a unique way of making science hysterically funny and readable. This is a quick read that happens to be one of my favorite non-fiction adult books.
The post also brings to mind a fun children's picture book that was a Kindergarten - Second Grade Book of the Year finalist for the Children's Choice Book Awards in 2009. Check out Sort it Out! by Barbara Mariconda, illustrated by Sherry Rogers. Just a hint - the main character is Packy the Packrat and his mother has had enough!