Happy Camper: A Mother’s Dramatic Confession


Pictured: The opposite of Grant’s cabin.

Summer camp. It’s a wilderness extravaganza for kids and a child-free vacay for parents. You can practically hear the champagne cork pop as mom and dad speed away after dropping off their pride and joy. And while I did enjoy a little ‘me’ time while my son was away (and by ‘me’ time I mean sleeping in and going to TJ Maxx cleaning out his room and buying school supplies), I missed him a little more than I expected. I wrote this Pulitzer prize winning account the day Grant returned from Camp Victory, a small Christian camp about an hour away. ¬†Enjoy…

July 16, 2016: We picked Grant up from summer camp today. He’s been gone for a week. (Okay, fine. Six days. But still.) While he was busy canoeing, swimming and not writing me letters, I was busy missing him. Like, a lot.

I was picturing our Saturday morning reunion like this: I get out of the car, scan the campgrounds for my darling, angelic boy…he spots me from the canoe area, tears off his orange life vest and we run towards each other (in slow motion with ‘Chariots of Fire’ playing) and reunite with a 5-minute embrace on the playground by the swings.


This is our reunion in my head. Except Grant is not a 22–year old in red pants. I am, however, this young and thin.

With tears in his eyes and a slight lip tremble, he dramatically proclaims (with a faint British accent), “I can’t live without you mother! And this week made me realize how much you do for me and I’m going to argue less and obey the first time and I’m going to start eating green beans and I realize now just how silly it is to want my own phone at my impressionable age of nine and you’ve been right the whole time–I AM too young to text!”

And then we turn and look and there’s a rainbow over the lake. Sigh. Magical.


There’s also a unicorn.

How it really went down? Less than magical.

When we walked up he was sitting on the back of a golf cart, oozing a nine-year-old swagger that said, “I’ve tasted independence this week. Who’s ready to co-sign for my first apartment?” If he’d been wearing a cap, it would have been slightly cocked to the left. When he spotted us he LI-TER-ALLY told the golf cart driver to step on it. THE NERVE! We’d just spent our entire Saturday morning a whole hour coming to pick him up. When I finally got my hands on him I basically had to force a very apathetic side hug. It was truly unsatisfying. He was hoarse and dirty and his suitcase smelled like a carcass.

muddy clothes

If his clothes could talk they would say this is what he did all day every day.

On the car ride home we asked him no less than 73 questions:


According to Grant, the camp missionary was from lower Alabama.

Us: Where was your missionary stationed?
Grant: Andalusia.
Us: Don’t you mean ‘Indonesia’?
Grant: Yes.

Us: Did you eat any fruit?
Grant: Not unless you count Sunkist.

Us: Were you ready to come home?
Grant: Yes, I was homesick because I really missed the dog.

He was exhausted but that did not stop our Law & Order-style interrogation.

Law & order svu intersecting lives ice-t mariska hargitay not going to get away with this

Obviously, I’m Mariska Hargitay and my husband is Ice-T.

After we were satisfied with his account of his whereabouts during the week of July 11, 2016, we made him strip down in the driveway, hosed him down.

Then I lit his suitcase on fire so he could never go anywhere. Ever again.

That’s right, I’ve decided his ‘seeing the world’ days are over.

He’s going to junior college and living at home and when he gets married, he and his wife can live in our basement.

IMG_6455 copy

Basically me the rest of that day if I was the panda bear and Grant was a full-grown zoologist.



  1. your favorite roomie

    probably one the of the top three, here, dear….

  2. You’ve tapped it girl. Happened with Cooper first. Now I just let them get picked up by friends. Happier to see me at home, or at least happy to get out of the car.

  3. Made me smile in the morning! You need more
    Kids- that helps with the first one getting older!

  4. yep – so true. when we picked our daughter up from her first camp. we got a little hug and wanted to know if we could go shopping.

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