It’s hard to believe that eight weeks have gone by since I wrote about my summer camp nostalgia. I can still picture my kids’ first day of camp like it happened yesterday. My little one was so excited that she could barely contain herself. My son was a little more subdued as he ventured into the unknown. And my wife had no idea what to expect in her first time working at a camp. I remember being happy for all of them, but also somewhat jealous as I watched them drive off on that rainy day in late June.
Days turned to weeks, and in the blink of an eye, my wife and kids were preparing for Color War. While I loved Color War when I went to camp, it was always bittersweet for me because I knew that it meant that the summer camp days that I loved were about to come to a screeching halt, and the worst day of the summer was about to happen.
Saying goodbye to my friends at the end of the summer was very difficult because I knew that I wouldn’t see most of them for another 10 months, so I knew what my wife and kids were in store for when camp ended yesterday.
Throughout the course of the day, I wondered what they were doing. I hoped that they were enjoying their last day, but knew in the back of my mind that they were probably dealing with the fact that their summer camp experience was about to come to the same screeching halt that I had lived through so many times before.
As a parent, you want to do whatever you can to protect your kids and shield them from as much pain as possible. Unfortunately, the drawback of getting to enjoy the summer camp experience is having to deal with the inevitable sadness that you feel when it comes to an end.
Knowing that I couldn’t take away their sadness, I decided to do what I could to try to help them by distracting them with pizza and ice cream at one of our favorite places. It helped a bit, but there was a feeling of loss in the air as my wife described to me how their camp experience ended. And it didn’t help that a song came on the radio at the pizza place that reminded my wife of camp, which brought tears to her eyes as she reflected upon the experience that had just ended an hour earlier.
The end of camp is sad enough, but this camp’s last day ritual made things even worse. It was almost as if the summer would not have been complete without the river of tears that was sure to flow as all of the campers and staff met in the center of camp for one last group hug and one last goodbye. And if the moment alone wasn’t enough to stir up emotions, Green Day’s “Time of Your Life” playing in the background over the loud speaker all but guaranteed that there would be very few dry eyes in the house.
“It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right…I hope you had the time of your life”
As sad as the ending of camp has been for my wife and kids, they all had the time of their lives this summer, and they can’t wait for June to arrive so that they can once again experience the magic of summer camp.