Finding Diana

An everyday woman's guide to figuring out what the hell happened to her life



Welcome to my world.  I am trying to figure out what became of me and I want to share this agonizing journey with the general public.

Please feel free to comment, but not to judge.  Ok, well we will all be judging, but just don't let me know about it.

Social Boot Camp

I just got back from picking my son up from overnight camp.  He is the first one to go of my four children, even though he is number three.  Its not for my lack of trying.  I would have loved for either or preferably both of the first two to go to sleep away camp- but they weren't the type.

In may day it was different.  I am the third of four children and I don't remember a lot of choice in the matter.  I thought every kid in the country was packed up and dropped off in the middle of New Hampshire the week after school let out.  And of course, you were picked up eight weeks later.  It was only later on that I realized that not everyone did this.

The first camp I went to was horrible.  It was my father's attempt to ease his guilt about not being observant enough Jews.  Despite the fact that we went to private religious school, kept a kosher home and attended synagogue each Saturday - my dad wanted more of his very religious upbringing.  So rather than become more observant himself, he sent me to an Orthodox camp.  My dad used to say his Jewish affiliation was "Orthodox, but weak", meaning that he would have liked to have been more observant but the demands were too much.

At this camp, we had Hebrew classes in the morning, homework to be done in the bunk and sports in the afternoon.  Whoo hoo!  All of the other kids were Orthodox and it seemed like they were a part of a club I wasn't allowed into.  They were not very welcoming and since I was only eight years old, I did not know how to navigate the situation.  After the first summer, I didn't complain because I knew it meant a lot to my dad.  But by the end of the second summer I couldn't take it anymore and I cried my eyes out.  Not to mention my parent's mistake of trying to both go to visiting day at two different camps on the same day.  My older sibs were at a different camp (maybe because my parents didn't think they would tolerate the Hebrew classes and I was too young to know the difference).  No one told me that the other camp had visiting day on the same day, so I sat there waiting for my family to arrive on visiting day.  They did - two hours late.  After that summer, I switched camps to be with my siblings and there were no more pulling demands.

The second camp was much better.  I was there until I was in college.  But lets face it, it's a social acid test.  You are being asked to socialize with children of both sexes and multiple ages, all day and all night without a break for eight weeks.  In day camp, you can go home after camp and chill in your own space.  At overnight camp, it's a never ending sleepover.  And you had better be able to negotiate the mind boggling changing of fashions you are supposed to know about.  How was I supposed to know that one summer it was all neon colors and the next it was about ripped clothes.  I was still in my Wrangler by Sears jeans.

Really they should have a pre-camp school on what is the latest trends.  Because once you are up at camp, its too late.  It's out of the bag that you are not really that cool and have no idea what is going on.  It would be great to have a teenager lead classes on the right color of body glitter to bring, what T-shirts are cool.  Is is still the candy ones or is it back to concerts that the kids wearing the shirts were 20 years too young to attend?  What length are the shorts?  Bermuda? Short shorts?  Thank Gd the belly shirt error has passed - no one wants to see that.  What should be pierced?  Two holes in which ear means what again?  Its like a whole syllabus that each kid needs.

Not that I couldn't use that as an adult - its more like I just don't care anymore.  If I were a real social climber, I'd take yoga, wear spanx and join a book club that actually discussed the book.  Or is that already passe?

In any case, there were so many memories from camp that I loved, and a few that made me feel inadequate.  Mostly I felt old and wished that I could be that young kid again, excited about what was being served for lunch, doing the latest dance awkwardly (and in reverse) and trying to figure out who the cool kids are.  It was much easier to do this as a kid with no other responsibilities.  Now I have to still do all this, but while making lunches and plans and doing laundry and cooking, etc.  

I keep hearing that lyric from "Pave Paradise and Put up a Parking lot" - Don't know what you've got til it's gone.  I will try and remember that now and enjoy watching my kids have fun at camp and learn the social skills they will need, that I can 't teach them.  I swear I can hear Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young playing in my head.

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