Monday, July 19, 2010

Bad, Rotten Mommy

The Son left for camp yesterday.

It is a week-long resident camp, and this is his third year.  We moved to our current town four years ago, and he goes to camp with his best friend from our previous town so they have a week together every summer.  They are like St. Bernard puppies, rolling and playing and barking and sleeping, with big clumsy feet and lolling grins.  It's about the cutest damn thing.  

This past week, I was busy with a job interview and showing the house and getting Oldest Daughter to string camp every day, and I told The Son to get his camp bag packed.  The camp sends a very specific checklist of what goes in the bag, and since this is his third year, I thought he could follow the checklist and get it done.

This was the Fatal Mistake.

He packed everything and had it sitting in the middle of his bedroom.  I came up to review his items, and asked if he had everything in his bags.  He showed me the list with double check marks next to everything in the "Required" section.  The phone rang and I ran away, since we are doing the whole house-selling thing and I am doing the job-interviewing thing and the phone is kind of important right now.

I drove him to the campsite, over an hour away from home, and helped him carry his pillow, sleeping bag, backpack and duffel bag.  He had shoes, he had bug repellent, he had sunscreen, he had a flashlight.  We seemed to be on the right track.  While we were standing in line waiting to come in, I overheard another mom say, "Oh, we forgot to bring a baseball cap!" and I thought "Damn, so did we!" but if it's just a hat we forgot, I could live with it.  I checked him in, we met his friend, and we walked to the cabin.

We walked in, and The Son took a top bunk.  I looked around, and every other bunk had a mini-fan on it.  I seemed to remember sending a fan with him in previous years, but didn't do it this year.  Whoops.  The cabins are not air-conditioned, and it was already pretty muggy in there.  Plus, I am sure it is hotter and muggier closer to the ceiling of the cabin.  I thought of my son, suffering in the heat, tossing and turning on his big down-filled (translation - HOT) sleeping bag, listening to the other boys fans.  Their moms are attentive and thorough.  His mom has ADD and didn't even check his bag.  

The counselors started shooing away the parents - we're all supposed to leave by 3:30 so the homesickness doesn't start and the helicopter parents are long gone before the kids start climbing "The Tower":
Actual photo of The Tower.  The Son LOVES it.
I think about liability issues.

The shooing means I don't have time to check The Son's bag.  Because I am already at camp, with no way of getting him the things he forgot, so it seems like a good time to check through his stuff and get distressed about what might or might not be in that bag.  He's 11 - he cares more about the flashlight than he does the toothbrush (which I know he has).  I get in the car and drive home, thinking.

By the time I get home, I know what he's missing.  His swimsuit.  At camp.  With a pool.  And a river.  He went to the local pool with a friend on Thursday, and told me about how he had to dig it out of his packed bag, and I was willing to bet $100 that he didn't re-pack it.  I got home, and my suspicions were confirmed.  Swimsuit was hanging in the bathroom.  The Son is the type of kid to get really upset about this type of thing.  Crapola.

So what is on my list early Monday morning?  Call the camp and be sure he can get a care package.  Tell them he needs it ASAP.  I am sure Carol on the line thought, "Yeah, yeah over protective HoverMom, they can't live without you for a week."  I ran to the store to bought a new small fan for his bed.  I found a baseball cap.  I packed his swimsuit and extension cord for said fan.  I drove across town to Priority ship the box of the things he forgot that could have been avoided had his mother taken 10 minutes to check his bag and the list of "Optional" items (like a fan).  Sigh.

How did I miss the sign-up for the course on "Necessary Things To Know To Be a Mother"?  Because I cannot do the following things:
  • french braid or otherwise style young girls' hair
  • separate important school paperwork from the crap
  • get the kids to make their beds or put away their clothes
  • switch summer clothes with winter clothes in a timely manner
  • be organized in any way
  • get current year school pictures framed before new ones are taken
  • stop swearing
  • not piss off the PTA
I do try, really I do.  There is just something wrong with my Estrogen Wiring.  I guess I'll be thankful for Priority shipping and other moms knowing to remind me about things, and continue to be the Scarlett O'Hara of Wifery, because as Miss Scarlett would say, I can always count on the fact that "Tomorrow is Another Day".

13 comments: said...

So this is what I have to look forward to....x3....and I already drink too much?!!


Jennifer Murray said...

I'm the mom who forgets things like sleep wear at a sleepover. I forget to send the $2 for the pizza/ice-cream/banana split parties and I forget to sign the write-up slips from school, causing my child to have yet another day of missed recess or d-hall or whatever. And yet, my children look at me with all sincerity when I apologize and berate myself, and say, "It's ok mommy." What did I do to deserve that?

Courtney said...

LOVE this post! That will be me in the future. My son is 3 and my daughter is almost 2. I have left the house without diapers before, or wipes, or a change of clothes. I have a feeling it will only get worse when there is more stuff involved.

Maxabella said...

Hello Julie. I love this post. My thoughts: love that TOWER. He can wear his undies for crying out loud. And...

•french braid or otherwise style young girls' hair


•separate important school paperwork from the crap

We have lost our son's all-important reading folder.

•get the kids to make their beds or put away their clothes

Do kids do that?

•switch summer clothes with winter clothes in a timely manner

Why do this when you can shove them all in the wardrobe at the same time and spend days looking for season-appropriate clothing?

•be organized in any way

I try.

•get current year school pictures framed before new ones are taken

Have never framed school pictures. We keep them shoved in a drawer. That might be the solution for you?

•stop swearing

When hell freezes over.

•not piss off the PTA

That's what they're there for.


Logical Libby said...

Yes, you should be stoned to death. Oh, wait? you sent him to camp, AND he had underwear? We'll let it slide this time...

Julie, The Wife said...

You people are cracking me up. I have a camp story for Whoreticulture Friday. And I always forget the money/permission slip/homework folder signing, and I actually said to a roomful of new moms at Kindergarten Roundup two years ago that "I am the mom who strives to make you all feel better about your parenting abilities. I will wear stained t-shirts and forget all of the essentials. I am here to take one for the team." Some of the moms laughed; others looked concerned. I am a giver that way.

Jody said...

You might not be able to do all on your list as well as you'd like but you are very witty, amusing and fun. I think this makes up for not being the most organized.

Just stumbled across your blog and I know I will be back often. x

Joe Ambrosino said...

You know what I say to all these so-called mistakes? So what! It builds character. My kids grew up with a bunch of hippies in an urban commune for part of their mixed up childhood. They're fine!

Anonymous said...

I empathise.
This evening, my son is performing in a 'Victorian Evening' where he sings songs about being an urchin and starving in pox-ridden hellholes that Dickens wouldn't have ridden past in a carriage (or something).
I thought I had his costume sorted. I didn't. I have sent him in his school trousers and a shirt I hastily ripped the collar off. He looks like a slightly smarter version of his normal self.
Luckily, his face and hands are filthy. They, at least, are 'authentic'.

Wendy Ramer said...

I have to say that I am remarkably organized. However, I am missing the "craft" gene, so no cool class projects for my kids. Except that my daughter somehow has the craft gene (maybe it skipped a generation).

GrandeMocha said...

You know they don't change clothes all week, right? They swim, eat, & sleep in the same clothes. Even if they smell. That's what camp is all about. For boys. One clean shirt, shorts, underwear, & socks is ALL he needed. Maybe a towel & a toothbrush.

Everybody needs "bad mommy" stories for their therapist. This can be one of his.

Allers Family said...

Don't beat yourself up... Chalk this up as a good life lesson for son. By the way, I have a hard time separating the important school papers from all of the other stuff, too, and I'm the one sending it home. :) I'm totally going to sound like a suck-up here, but I so appreciate your honesty about your trials and tribulations. It makes me feel better when I realize H doesn't have clean socks or I left a sippy cup in the van, overnight, again.

Cinderella said...

Haha! I am terrified of being a mom! So not skilled in any of these things! Just wish for a fairly godmother :)

XO Cinderella

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