Gee, Mother Superior, I Wanna Go Home

A bunch of us moms (what is a bunch of moms called, anyway – a gaggle, a murder, a herd?) were talking about summer camp one night while the girls were at swim practice.  Because it’s never too early to plan for summer camp.  One of the moms, who has a daughter a year older than Dimples, 10, mentioned that her daughter is going to sleep-away camp for the first time this summer.  For 3 weeks.

I immediately flashed back to my first experience at sleep-away camp around that age.

My mother had convinced me to go with my best friend, who had been going for years.  For one week, I would have the best time of my life, she assured me, swimming in the lake, canoeing, and watching movies.

I was pumped.  I really couldn’t wait.  I eagerly labelled every item I owned, even if it wasn’t going with me for the week, and told all of my friends what I great time I would have.

The ride to camp seemed even longer due to my excited anticipation.  When we arrived at the camp, a facility run by Catholic nuns, I nearly threw myself out of the car.

My mother got me settled in to my cabin, signed all of the appropriate papers which, I’m sure, included one that promised me to a nunnery when I turned 18, and left.

As soon as my mother got in the car, a huge lump rose in my throat.

I turned to my best friend, so she could take my mind off of this sudden rush of homesickness.  She was gone.  After several years of attending camp, she had a circle of camp friends who were much more fun than I was.  She really wasn’t my best friend, anyway; our moms were best friends, and we were always stuck together.  Of course, I did not realize this until that moment.

I began to cry.  And cry.  I couldn’t stop crying.  Even when the very nice cabin nun tried to comfort me.  Even when we sat in the auditorium watching Ben Hur that night.

This is What Our Cabin Looked Like - Kind Of

Even when the girls told me about the man with the hook that had been seen the night before trying to break in to one of the cabins.

I cried for three days straight.  Finally the Head Mother Superior Nun Lady sat me down for a talk.

“Why do you keep crying?” she demanded.

“Because I want to go home!” I sobbed.

This flummoxed her.  She could not understand why the engaging activities at her camp would not instantly cure me of wanting to go home.

“How about if I promise to call your parents and ask them to pick you up on Friday instead of Saturday?”

I perked up.  This was the first sign anyone had shown of giving in to my hysterics.

“O.K.” I whined.  I stopped crying.

For two days, I refrained from crying.  Except in my cot at night.

On Friday, I woke up early, dressed, and packed my duffle bag.  I sat on my cot after breakfast, waiting for my parents.

Who never came.

The next day, when they finally arrived, I threw myself at them.  “Why didn’t you come yesterday?”

“What do you mean?”

Yes, you Smart Readers.  You anticipated what I surely should have realized myself.  According to my parents, no one had ever called them from the camp.

Now, I ask you – who would you believe, your own parents or Sister Mary Quite Contrary?

I never got to the bottom of this, but the long-term effect was that I now view both Catholics and parents with a critical eye.

And I will not be sending Dimples to summer camp.

photo credit: <a href=””>i k o</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Posted on February 13, 2012, in Children, Dimples, Family, Humor, Parenting, Religion and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Hmmm…A maternity ward of moms…a hovering of moms…a critique of moms…a judgement of moms…a comfort of moms…a nurturing of moms…a competition of moms…a bickering of moms…a fatigue of moms…a fret of moms…a scolding of moms…an encouragement of moms…
    Really depends on the circumstance.

  2. I’m not sure what you call a group of moms, but I sure know what you call a group of camp councillors: a desperation.

    I worked for only a couple of months as a camp councillor when I was eighteen. It left me scarred for life. The story is here: (WARNING: Not for the weak of stomach).

  3. Did I mention my sympathies are entirely with the camp nun? (Sorry.) 🙂

  4. I went to camp a few times. Met the meanest kids on the entire planet. They shared a bunk with me. I was a happy girl.

  5. I hearby anoint you as the person who will resurrect widespread usage of “flummoxed” among the populace.

    You’re welcome.

  6. I never wanted to go to summer camp because I knew I would be in the exact same position.

  7. That sounds like a bad time, and I don’t blame you one bit for not sending her. I wouldn’t either!

  8. i also liked the use of the word fluxxxommedd (i am sure i spelled that correctly). i am frightened of any sleep away camp for kids. sorry. stinks of PEDOPHILES to me. i watch too much law and order. and yes, i am sure you call a group of moms a murder. i would like to start to use that word as well as fulluxommed.

  9. Since you are not sending her anyway, I have to bring up the obvious reason not to go to Sleep away Camp. Namely, the movie Sleep Away Camp or any of the other in the genre with Jason and the others.

  10. That is so sad. I loved summer camp, but I went to a really small church-school so my sisters and…well the whole school went, so that made it easier. 😉

  11. I went for several years. Enjoyed it then,kind of miss it now (30 years later)…

  12. WOw! Glad I never had to go to summer camp! Who would I believe? Sister or Parents? Umm….. neither? LOL… Let Wonderbutt get them both! LOL

    Great Post!

    Your friends,
    The Collies, a weak and laughing Trevor and Chuck 🙂

  13. I went to summer camp throughout my childhood. It was 4-H camp and truly the highlight of my year. There were no nuns though. I get the feeling nuns might be a damper on fun.

    A group of mothers should be called a “naggle.”

  14. Try not to think too badly of the nun. I am sure she was wracked by guilt over lying and had to do penance.

  15. My person deserted me for a week last summer and went to be a counselor at camp. She said she had a couple kids who liked to cry, but they managed to have some fun in spite of it.

  16. It has been my experience that our parents and the Catholic Church are almost always in cahoots. You may never know who initiated the deception, but you can rest assured that they both approved of it.

    Also, there are several terms for a group of moms: a bedraggle of moms, a crank of moms, a slumber of moms and a soreback of moms. Check your OED.

  17. Going to camp is an interesting experience, that’s for sure. I met my husband at summer camp, where we were both on staff, but I never went to one as a child. I think I’d have been like you and wept the entire week. My kids, however, LOVE it. I’d encourage you to ask you daughter if she WANTS to go – she might love it, too. Everyone is different!! And if she goes with a good friend – (one unlike your friend who hasn’t been before, either) who is adventurous and up for the experience, then they can stick together and encourage each other. we thought carefully about a friend to ask to go with my daughter and now the two of them both look forward all year to it – and are BEST friends all year long, too! No pressure! Just a different view!

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