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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Princess Attempts Overnight Summer Camp

Out of my window looking in the night I can see the barges flickering light, my mother and I belted out as Kim drove the car, hugging each curve as it ascended Crown Mountain. In the backseat, sitting next to my mother, who was eagerly typing fun camp songs into her Google search engine, sat a rather cantankerous, Senia Mae, texting me pictures of thumbs down, the poop pile, and barfing emojis from the backseat.

"I don't understand why I can't bring my iPad to 4H camp," Senia Mae said. The trip to Savannah was going to take five hours, I know she was thinking how could a child on a trip possibly survive without any electronic devices? It was her first time going away for overnight camp and I wanted her to participate, not be off somewhere in her own world escaping on her device. We weren't being completely mean, we let her bring her Apple watch so she could contact us if necessary.

"Before there were iPads and movies in cars we actually used to talk to each other," Kim said. "You could also draw, read a book. We'd like you to be a little more open minded." 

"For five hours?" Senia Mae's grumpiness was not improving as I had hoped. "And there's no way they are going to sing those stupid songs on the bus!"

"Oh no," I said. "Camp is always about singing." I even texted the camp administrator to double check. Sing along songs were still a big part of 4H camp.

I'll sing you one ho, green grow the rushes ho, and what is your one ho? Grammy continued her string of long lost camp hits from the backseat.

"What the heck is a rushes ho?" Senia Mae asked.

"We never asked or even cared what a rushes ho was, it's more about singing and being happy, just like we weren't really questioning why someone was so interested in finding a peanut last night," I said. Senia Mae was not amused. I was trying to add some much needed comedic relief, hoping she would lighten up and just get into that old camp sprit. She wasn't.

The next morning, we sat on the curb in the junior high parking lot waiting for the late bus. I remember many school trips, the motto always being hurry up, wait. At least everything hadn't changed since I was a kid. When the shiny motor coach finally pulled in, Senia Mae's eyes lit up. It looked like it could have been Katy Perry's tour bus. Even though she wasn't going to admit it to me, I think she was excited as well as nervous.

After the bus pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed a text from Senia Mae. There's no wi fi on the bus followed by the crying emoji. I smiled to myself before responding. I don't want to ruin my child's trip, but I want her to experience the comradery and togetherness that camp offers. She's an only child and doesn't have to deal with sibling rivalry, or teasing, or playfulness that you get by being around a large group of children. She doesn't know how it feels to have to share a bathroom or even consider someone else. Senia Mae thinks staying at the Budgetel instead of the five star lodge is actual suffering! Camp was going to be good for her. I could feel it.

No wi fi? I guess they'll just be more time for singing! I added the laugh until you cry emoji and hit send. We'll see how the rest of the week goes!

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