The forms were filled out. The money was paid. The bags were packed, or so I thought. It was time to load up my two youngest and drive them to their first overnight camp. My good best friend, Jan happened to be in town and decided to come along for the ride. I armed her with the camp directions and off we went. The route would be taking us right by the outlet mall, what good fortune! With any luck, we could drop them off and have time to do some shopping before heading for home. Alas, this was not to be.
My son was uncharacteristically quiet and not hungry which told me that he was nervous about going to camp. My daughter who only gets nervous when faced with the prospect of getting a shot, was her usual chatty self. The first sign that the directions weren't the best was when we finally came to the road we were looking for to turn on was not at the 3rd light as the directions stated, but the 9th or 10th. We were just glad to be on the right road. Next we were to drive into the town square and take a right on Church St. between the First Baptist Church and the Mountain View Community Bank. We found not one but two First Baptist Churches not on Church St. and we found a plethora of banks, none of which was the aforementioned, much less the right combination of the First Baptist Church on Church St. across the street from Mountain View Community Bank. I approached the square from every direction, sent my gbf inside a sketchy convenience store to ask for directions and still no luck. My son stated, " I'm starting to get a feeling of worry." which is better than I'm starting to get a feeling of throwing up. Worry I can handle. No luck at the convenience store or even the school bus driver I pulled beside to ask directions. My gbf decided to send me this time into the larger of the two First Baptist Churches we had found. I asked the nice pastor if he could give me directions to the camp that was somewhere near the town square. He asked me for the address and proceeded to tell me the devastating news that I would never be able to find the camp because I was in the wrong town! He then started talking very slowly and he actually walked me out to my car to make sure he could physically point to the road which would lead me to the right town. Really, the wrong town! Who goes to the wrong town??
The end of check in time was fast approaching and the feeling of worry was increasing all around as was the need for food, water and a potty all of which we did not have time to stop for. It was time for prayer and God did not let us down. Cheers all around and a big "Thank you Jesus!"when we finally spotted the sign for the camp. We were met with a camp counselor, clip board in hand as they were closing the check-in stations. To my horror I spotted a pile of color coordinated daily care packages lovingly prepared by other campers moms. Not good as I had forgotten to write letters. Since we were the very last campers to arrive, we got last choice in beds so I had to climb in my flip flops to the 3rd tier bunk bed to make up my daughters bed. Looking around at the other already made beds that I realized I also had not brought a blanket/sleeping bag as only sheets were listed. I rationalized that their exuberant twenty something counselors would think of something and quickly left as they were already behind schedule. We were on our way home and realized that I would not be able to rest thinking my children were freezing with no mail. My gbf Jan and I turned the car around to look for a store that sold blankets and stationary. The Family Dollar came through for me! I found two blankets, one Happy Birthday card and one Congratulations card to leave for them with money for the store. Not my finest Mommy moment! Next, I would sneak the blankets and into their cabins and locate the office to leave the letters. I almost made it, but my son spotted me and waved. He was walking very close to his counselor, but didn't run for the car, a good sign.
My gbf and I were now back on the road and hopeful that we could find our way home. We were also starving as it had been 5 hours since we left for the 1 1/2 hour trip to camp. We stopped to eat and I treated my gbf to dinner for her patience, sense of humor and company on our adventure. We felt much better after we ate, despite having to drive right past the outlet mall without stopping, something we have never ever done.
I'm not sure my gbf will every get into the car with me or my children for that matter. I learned many things that day: One needs to pay for the GPS voice activated app in order for it to work, always pack a sleeping bag for camp no matter what is stated on the packing list and above all else, take a gbf with you!