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The Trails and Tribulations of Getting My Daughter Ready for Sleep-Away Camp




As a single working mom in a blended family, life is always a balancing act, but when my younger daughter decided she wanted to go to sleep-away camp this summer, the challenge took on a whole new dimension.


Now here we are in June, and she’s packed and almost ready to go and I can honestly say that I’m extremely happy for her. She’s the type of kid who will thrive in a camp setting. She’s easy to like (in this mom’s humble opinion), and more importantly, she likes almost everyone she meets. With her experience on teams and being part of groups, I know she’ll fit right in. As the younger sister, she’s also learned how to stand up for herself, so I have no worries about her managing the social dynamics.


(Let’s be honest, I’m also starting have all the feels about her being away for longer than she has ever been away before.)


The real trials have been in getting everything ready. Now, I fully acknowledge that these are first-world problems, and I am blessed to have such issues. But let me tell you, the packing list was substantial and the odds and ends she wanted to take seemed endless. Who wants their child to go away for their first sleep-away camp experience and have a bad time?


So, what did I do? I approached this like I do most things: I did my homework, blocked out some time, and jumped into the job with gusto.





Maintaining a sense of humor was key. There were moments of frustration, of course—like when we realized we had to label every single piece of clothing and personal item. But we laughed at ourselves, especially during the late-night labeling marathon where everything started to look blurry. My daughter’s excitement was infectious, and it kept me motivated even when the to-do list seemed never-ending.


I posted about our camp preparations on social media and received some amazing feedback and tips from friends who had been through this before. Their advice was invaluable and reassured me that we were on the right track.


We created checklists, double-checked supplies, and even practiced packing the trunk to make sure everything fit perfectly. Seeing my daughter’s enthusiasm as she saw everything come together made all the effort worthwhile.


Now, as we approach departure day, I’m trusting that her trunk will be in fine order when she unpacks, and she’ll lack for nothing. And if I did forget something, well, I can always make up for it, just like I do at work. I’ve learned to adapt and find solutions on the fly, and this situation is no different.


This whole experience has been a reminder that none of us are perfect, but if we tackle what we want to accomplish with enthusiasm and energy, it’s bound to turn out more than fine.


My daughter’s first sleep-away camp is more than just a summer adventure; it’s a milestone for both of us. For her, it’s a step toward independence and new friendships. For me, it’s a testament to the strength and resilience we’ve built as a family. I’m proud of her bravery and excited for the memories she’ll make.


When she comes back with stories of adventure, new skills, and lifelong friends, I’ll know that all the trials and tribulations were more than worth it. I’ll miss her for sure, but parenting is knowing when your child is ready to spread their wings and this child is more than ready to fly.

 

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