Last year, my eight year-old son went to summer camp. It was the first time he had been away from home for more than a night. An hour after I dropped him off, I missed him terribly. By the time I went to bed, I found myself wandering into his bedroom, just to feel close to him.
As the days passed, I wrote to him daily. Each hour dragged as I’d wait for the mailman, hoping for just one letter from him. By that point I missed him so much, I began to imagine what he might write.
I fantasized that one of his letters from camp would look something like this:
Thank you so much for letting me go to camp. I have learned so many cool things, like how to take a fish off the hook, tie sailing knots, and how to groom a horse. Thanks for packing sun screen. I’ve been out on the lake a lot, so it’s really come in handy. You think of everything! I’ve been drinking tons of water since it’s so hot. See? I do listen to all your good advice.
The other boys in my cabin are really smart and nice. I’m making lifelong friends I will cherish forever. We’ve had fun learning camp songs, playing cards, and catching frogs in our free time. During quiet time, I read the book you sent along. What a great selection!
Like you suggested, I’m trying a lot of new foods. You were right, the oatmeal at breakfast isn’t bad if I add raisins. And don’t worry, Mom, I’m using all the manners you’ve taught me over the years.
We’re camping under the stars tonight. I hope to see fireflies.
I love you,
P.S. Tell my brothers I miss them!
The next day I received an actual letter from him. It was, shall we say, ever so slightly different from what I imagined:
In case you’re having trouble deciphering, here it is without the questionable spelling:
Good you packed extra underwear, since I had diarrhea. It got on my shoes but not my pillow. I’m having fun at camp and learning stuff. I rock at windsurfing and kayaking. I’ve ate more push-pops than anyone. I’ve ate 23 since Monday. Still two days left. 37 is the record and I can beat it. Sweet!
I went horseback riding and the horse in front of me took three huge dumps. Smoke came off the poop. It was awesome.
I used my toothbrush to dig for worms. Don’t freak out. The guy in the bottom bunk let me use his. It’s safe. I don’t know his name but he can burp the alphabet like me. A kid named Zack can burp the alphabet backwards. I’m practicing that.
We put oatmeal in the counselor’s baseball hat. It was pretty funny. Oatmeal is bad Mom. Even with raisins.
I shot a rifle. I’m a good aimer. Can we get one when I get home?
Did you know you can light farts on fire? I’ll show you on Saturday.
P.S. – Your spaghetti is way better.
P.S.S. – Tell my brothers to have lots of farts for Saturday.
This year I’m sending a whole book of stamps to camp with him.
Can’t wait to see what he writes!