Most people who know me well would say I’m a laid back person, but since having kids I’ve turned into a worrier. I try to give my kids freedom to explore and learn from their mistakes. I hope they don’t know that I’m terrified when they speed down the street on their bikes (mind you one has training wheels and the other rides a big wheel) or when my daughter insists on practicing gymnastics around the house. I know it’s fun and games, but I see scraped knees and broken bones.
But I don’t let my worries prevent me from letting my kids be kids. My daughter is attending camp for the first time this summer. I made sure she had swim lessons starting last fall so she’d be prepared, but I’m still nervous about free swim. I debated sending the site director a note about it, but I figured she would think I’m crazy.
And I didn’t want to be that mom.
I loved camp as a kid, and aside from my reservations about swimming, I was very excited for her to start.
My husband dropped her off at camp connection on her first day, which is a before care program. I was bummed I couldn’t be the one to do it, but I had a train to catch downtown. At around 9:30, the site director called to ask me if my daughter would be attending camp that day. Mind you, camp starts at 9:00. I told her yes, she was, and that my husband dropped her off earlier. After a slight pause, she informed me that they had not seen my daughter. Nothing could have prepared me for that news. After asking how she could be missing and not getting any clear answers, I called my husband in a sheer panic. He was on the other line with the camp and abruptly told me he’d call me back. Minutes ticked by with no news. I’d never felt such a complete sense of helplessness—or the deep rooted fear that clutched my heart, making it difficult to breathe. I called the camp back countless times, only to have the phone ring and ring. After a 20 minute ordeal, she was located. She had been put on the wrong bus and was being sent back to the right camp. A sense of unbridled relief washed over me, but I could not shake the feeling of dread knowing that something could have happened to her. I felt like I was floating through a dream the rest of the day, with countless “what if” scenarios running through my mind.
I spoke with the Director to try to understand how this could have happened. After going on and on about the stress this caused me and my husband, she simply told me that the camp connection form I filled out was for the other camp, the one where they took her. Oh. How did that happen? Aside from being a worrier, I am also very organized. I filled out the camp forms in person, so did they give me the wrong one, or did I ask for the wrong one? It was months ago when I turned in the paperwork, so I’ll never know. If I did in fact bring this on myself, it was a very hard lesson learned. So now I will worry about being extra diligent in every matter pertaining to my kids. In the end, my daughter got an award for being camper of the day. I don’t think she knew the extent of what happened, so she had fun at camp and was happy to receive the award. She went from lost to found, so I’m just glad this story has a happy ending.