Yesterday Benjamin and I were so excited to go to the mailbox. You see, we both knew it was the day we would receive our very first letter from Leah at sleepaway camp and I couldn’t wait to share with him what she had written and see his little face light up. The amount he misses his sister is bordering on awful to watch.
Lo and behold there were TWO magical letters and oh to see how he held those envelopes in his hands as we walked into the house. I’m pretty sure they were radiating rays of light and glitter in his eyes. I’ll admit I was pretty excited to read them as well.
I open the first one and there is a very folded up green sheet of paper. I open all the creases to find one single line of text: “Mommy, you FORGOT the Kleenex. You were WRONG.” Love, Leah
All righty then.
I know in her head she thought she was being funny because we high-fived after unpacking her that we DIDN’T forget any items this year. (Last year we somehow forgot soap and ended up buying a bar at a gas station on the way into camp.) But, really? This was not cool – for me or for Benjamin.
The second letter was very similar to the first except now I was wrong because “there’s no Maccabia (color wars) this year because they spent too much money on the new sports complex.” (Little does she know that’s a lie. Staff tell all kinds of lies so that when they break (surprise them) Maccabiah it’s a huge surprise and all the kids lose their ever-loving mind.)
But, again – not a nice letter.
The only way I have to communicate with her is via letters or email and I had to make a decision about whether or not to let this slide and see what the next letter brings or address it through long distance communication.
Yeah, I’m not letting it sit.
So last night I wrote her a letter telling her how excited we were to see two letters in our mailbox and how sad we were to see what she had written. I asked her to think about how she would feel if she had received a letter she was so excited to get only to find ONE line that was not nicely written. I reminded her that her ability to go to camp is a GIFT and she might be more thoughtful and appreciative of that when she writes her next letter by sharing her experiences with the family.
I will not be there when she reads the letter. I will not be there to make her feel better after I made her feel badly. I can only hope that the lesson on paper will be learned. I can only hope that she knows I still wish her a wonderful time at camp – and that I love and miss her.
I can only hope I chose good words – and the next letter is better than the first.