• J Mess


8 weeks none of us will ever forget. I guarantee it.

When I was younger, I worked at a day camp for many summers. And while it was an amazing experience, it's not something I had any interest in repeating. Because kids are annoying. Even my own kids, but especially other people's kids. Don't judge me, you know it's true. Maybe except for those angels known as teachers who deal with other people's kids all day long. Although I'm sure secretly they also find kids annoying, even mine. I honestly don't know how they do it. I knew I was done with other people's kids the summer we took my group on a rafting trip down the Delaware river and one of my campers started rough-housing and accidentally tossed one of her shoes out the bus window while we were going 65 mph down the highway. Try figuring out what you were supposed to do in that situation. Stop the bus and walk down the highway looking for a shoe? Try explaining to a parent why their kid wore only one shoe the entire day on a field trip. Try explaining that to the camp administrators. It was a calamity. Just like everyday of "the summer of Corona" will be. Everyday will be a "someone threw their shoe out the bus window" day. Mark my words.

Tuition might be free, but it will cost my sanity. And no, we're not accepting additional campers.

I don't know why I'd think Camp Messier would go any better than the Messier Home School. Unless the sun acts as some kind of tranquilizer, it's just basically a continuation of the same insanity, yet mostly outside. In 90 degrees and with more mosquitoes. I started gathering items for Camp Messier early on when I realized I needed a contingency plan in case camp was cancelled or I didn't feel it was prudent to send them. I got a giant inflatable pool that can fit 3 adults and a tie-dye kit for me, water guns and a splash pad for Nathan, and a swing and outdoor baby jail for Sydney. My husband bought an insanely large blow-up water slide... for himself? But even with all of these activities, how was I supposed to accomplish all of this fun in the sun by myself? Our new slogan might as well have been "Camp Messier: where everyday is a rainy day and we sit inside and watch movies." I needed a plan. I needed help. I needed a counselor.

There will be no "spirit days." Everyday will be pajama day.

As the director of the lamest camp on Earth, I wasn't sure about bringing on additional staff. What really is safe these days? However, unless I wanted to run a completely indoor, ipad-dependent program, I had no choice. So I found a girl through one of my mom's groups and figured I was good to go. Yet, sadly the bottom line is nothing, not a bouncey house, not a million activities, not the most energetic counselors, can make up for bad campers. Nathan is a terror. He doesn't want to play with her, only me. He doesn't want to do anything. He basically just screams at her all day that everything is "his." Anything she says to do, he does the opposite. I don't think he wants to be enrolled in my camp. I'm pretty much convinced that future-Nathan will be the camper who tosses his shoe out the bus window. And after spending the entire summer with us, this poor girl, will now probably never have children. Happy summer...

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