Saturday, July 5, 2014

Liamless Limits {And How To Pack For Summer Camp}

"and I want that chaos right here beside me...drowning me in a swelling dam of love-mayhem..." SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak
I have them.  Liamless limits. 

They surprised me when I found myself missing him desperately last summer while he was away at his first summer camp experience. 

He's got this heart that spans the world I know and when it's out of reach it leaves a hole. 

But camp feeds a piece of a child's soul that I would be selfish to keep from him.

We sat over dinner one night a few months ago and he announced, "I don't want to go to camp this year."

"Yes you do," I argued.

"Nope."

"Liam, camp is important. You make friends. You learn independence. You have fun. You try new things."

"I don't want to go. I want to play baseball."

I'm not sure where he got the idea that it was one or the other.  "You can do both!" I told him.

"Oh. Okay, I want to go to camp then."

And now the time has come to pack for another year...

How To Pack For Summer Camp - SelfBinding Retrospect by Alanna Rusnak - includes a complete packing list!


1. Be intentional about the laundry. Begin early and have a clear picture of what exactly is needed so you're not digging through the hamper hours before you have to leave, searching for that lucky t-shirt he has to have. {see the list at the bottom of this post}

2. When the laundry is all done and folded {because you're amazing and focused} sort everything he needs into piles. DO NOT just throw things into the suitcase haphazardly - this will undoubtedly lead to you digging through that nicely packed luggage because you'll be sure to second guess yourself before it's all over.  Find a clean surface {I used my bed} and makes your piles: t-shirts, shorts, underwear, etc. That way, you can see and count everything before packing it, and know that you have what you need.

3. Label everything.  Once my piles were complete, I went through item by item and made sure everything had a RUSNAK label.

4. Explain items to your child.  "Liam, this is a drawstring bag. It's for your dirty laundry. You're not going to put dirty socks into your suitcase with your clean clothes - you're going to put them in this bag. Okay? Okay."  *mime putting stinky socks into the bag and sealing it up while child rolls their eyes* 

5. Pack the suitcase so that the less important things are on the bottom - things like rain-wear that may not even be needed.  I packed by item but some children may benefit from packing by outfit {because Liam is going to an all boys camp and the whole intention is really just to get dirty, matching outfits were a little high maintenance and unnecessary}.

6. Don't forget a special quiet time item. Most camps have an afternoon quiet time {those poor counselors need a break!} and most kids aren't really interested in taking a nap. I told Liam to find whatever he wanted to take for that time and put it on my bed with all the other packing stuff.

This is what he chose:

Books to read and a notebook to journal in, already titled with 'Second Year of Newlif Champ' {translation: Second Year of New Life Camp}

He's ready!

And now he's so excited he can't sleep.  It's 10:30 at night and he's been up four times.

"Is this harder than Christmas Eve?" I asked him.

"I don't know," he said. "I just can't get to sleep."

And to double his anticipation, tomorrow morning - before we leave for camp - is his debut performance with my worship band and he is over the moon that I'm letting him play the djembe with us for one song.

So it's a big day.  And he's going to be exhausted.

But he's going to love it. All of it.

And I'm going to miss him.

Terribly.

Packing List For One Week Of Boys Camp
  • 6 t-shirts
  • 4 shorts
  • 2 pants
  • 2 sweaters
  • 1 raincoat
  • 2 pairs of pajamas {one for warm nights, one for cool nights}
  • 6 pairs of underwear
  • 10 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • 1 hat
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 2 towels {one for showering, one for swimming}
  • pillow
  • sleeping bag
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • shampoo {an all-in-one children's product that works as soap too}
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • quiet-time activity
  • flashlight {with fresh batteries}
  • $10 for tuck shop

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