Hey Kids! Mom And I Got Super Weird While You Were At Sleepaway Camp

Dispatches from an unshackled dad.

man in swimming pool with animal floaties

Day 1

Dear Sweetie, I know it probably seems like Mommy and I just dropped you off, and we all know that you’re such a pro by now and probably so excited to see your camp friends that you temporarily forgot who we are, but we already miss you. It’s true. I mean, I can’t even!  Mommy didn’t cry this year and you ran away to meet your friends so fast that you probably didn’t even notice my sobbing, but really don’t you worry about us. We’ll be strong. You’re so fire, of course we’re gonna be a lost without you, but we’ll hold it together this summer. Pinkie promise! Last summer flew by in one big, fuzzy blur, so this time we’re going to try to slow it down, take it a little slower than last year and really embrace the peace and quiet. It’s so important for moms and dads to take some time to reconnect while you’re gone.

Anyway, when we’re not reconnecting, Mom is hell bent on reorganizing, so of course we stopped at the Container Store on the drive back from camp. Mommy had an insanely long list of stuff to get, but after about a half hour she just sat on the floor in the Elfa section and burst into tears. “It’s all pointless,” she said. “Since what we need is a real apartment.” I was pretty mortified at first, but then I got a little peeved myself and before you know it we were in one of those fights where each person’s trying to whisper because like, they’re in public, but it just makes it even worse cuz they’re like hissing at each other and everyone knows they’re fighting anyway? It was kinda like that. So mommy threw away and told me to get my head out of my ass and pay for the goddamned six-pack of wooden hangers already.

The car ride home was pretty quiet until we stopped at Discount Liquors. We got a case of Rose, a bottle of Campari, and a big ass bottle of Tito’s. Then, Mommy ran back inside and got one of those vape pens you see advertised in those magazines they sell at Guitar World. Look, don’t judge: It’s healthier than real cigarettes, especially since mom’s only smoking the tinctures Aunt Meg brought home from Telluride. I guess the re-org project can wait. ILYSM! Have the best time at camp this year! You’re a star.

PS – Listen, I know you’re super bummed that Lexy and Kelsey aren’t in your bunk this year but it might actually be a blessing in disguise. To be honest, Lexy’’s kind of a dipshit, and Kelsey…where do we begin? I mean, what’s up with that halter top? It’s summer camp in the Berkshires, not the infield at the Winston Cup. Sooo basic. Have a great summer. I miss you already!

PS – Just be glad you’re not in the bunk with Eczema Girl!

Day 2

Hey Darling! Home is so boring and quiet with you. Today is your first full day of camp and I am so psyched about all the fun you’re about to have. Yaass Kween! Mommy probably won’t end up writing quite as often as I do, since she’s trying to meditate every day with that Headspace App you make fun of her for. So I guess you’re stuck with me again! I just wanted to shoot you a quick note before I headed off to work. I’ve told you about the office, right? That place with all the venal, small-minded, untalented people I loathe? But since you and your sister keep insisting you want to go to college….I’m late already. Gotta fly!

Love – Daddy

Day 3

Hey Girl, Hey! Oh my God. We miss you sooooo much. Last night we saw pictures of you on the camp website. In one you were on the zipline and others you were doing stuff in the crafts room and it just made me want to see you so badly. By the way, was that a planter you were making? Or a gourd? Or maybe it was a bong in disguise? Well, whatever it is, it’s awesome, but let’s make a point to talk about whether or not it really needs to come home with you in August. Ok sweetie?

So nothing much to report: last night we had some friends over for cocktails (Negroni Tuesdays!) and we drank and talked about the same six things we always talk about: real estate, restaurants, the premium cable TV series we watch, the premium cable T series we can’t seem to find the time to watch, that new almond milk thing we’re all obsessed at Whole Foods, what a drain you kids are on our time and energy and the therapists and tutors and we need so you don’t end up on Youtube smoking a bad batch of K2 and walking like a zombie on the sidewalk in the Bronx or killing your friends over some creepy Thin Man meme. Oh, we also talk about money, so that’s seven things, but mostly other people’s money and how the fuck did they get so much of it? (There’s no point talking about politics, since everyone pretty much says the same things they heard Rachel Maddow say). When we got home mom tried to read her new meditation book but she was a little drunk and passed out in her new silk jumper. No one had sex on your bed. Bye Felicia!

Day 4

Good morning, Sunshine! It’s another Wednesday morning here at home and I have absolutely nothing new to report. Mommy’s trying to meditate (Day Three!) while I’m covering the coffee grinder with towels so the noise doesn’t disturb her. Oops. More towels! Last night we had the best sushi. OMG. We went to one of those restaurants that you and your sister would totally love but that we never go to because it’s not worth blowing that kind of money on you. I mean I didn’t have sushi that good until I was in my thirties and had an expense account on a business trip to LA. So, tough shit. The Chu-toro was like sea butter. Oh well. Only supermarket sushi for you! Omakase, motherfucker.

After dinner, Mommy and I took a long quiet walk home. Mommy read her anti-clutter book while I went on Linkedin and looked up former colleagues I had crushes on before Mommy and I got married. (Not to brag, but as it turns out, people were looking at my profile!) After that Mommy and I had sex on your bed. But not the romantic kind they had in that cancer kids movie that made us cry or the steamy, crazy-person sex you saw that time you couldn’t sleep and we let you sit with us while we watched Homeland, but the married, mom and dad, Wednesday night kind of sex. See sometimes Mommys and Daddys make love because they love each other. Sometimes they just do it because they haven’t done it in a while and they don’t want not having it become one of those unresolved bedtime tensions that ruin a good night’s sleep. Because all anyone really wants is a good night’s sleep and sometimes you just have to fuck on your kid’s bed to get it. Does that make sense?

ILYSM!

Day 5

What Up Girl? It’s morning again. While you’re up eating Nutella pancakes and jumping in a cold lake I’m just doing a little light housework and steeping Mommy’s matcha while she does her meditation app again. (Day 4!) I can hear all that mindfulness seeping through the ceiling. JK! It sounds more like snoring!

Anyway, last night I dreamt that mommy DM’d me saying she wanted a divorce: “life is short. we had a good run. Emoji mic drop.” I mean, couldn’t she even text me? Anyway, it was only a dream, but it was still scary. I’m way too old for roommates! I miss you. A lot.

– Dad

Day 6

Yo Sweetie! Happy Saturday! Since it’s the weekend, we’ve devoted the day to peace and quiet and cleaning out the closets. I went to the farmer’s market for Shiitakes and to see if they still have the garlic shoots that I buy but never actually cook. Mommy’s in the storage unit, vaping and throwing out everything she can find that doesn’t give her joy. (Just a heads up: she’s really on a tear. Remember that 100 project you had to make in first grade, and that tea pot set you made for Santa Claus, and the trophies you won every season in Lacrosse…? I don’t they’re bringing mommy any joy at the moment.) I’m going to stay out of her way and just drink my coffee and dream of a simpler life in the Catskills with the girl who sells mushrooms at the Farmer’s Market.

PS – I’ll try to go through the trash later and salvage any real treasures. You can thank me later.

Your savior, Dad

Day 7

Dear Sweetie, You know that Mommy and I love and adore you with every last bit of our hearts and that we will always do what’s right for you and what will make you the happy, independent, kind, loving, brilliant, awesome grown-up you’ll surely be. Which is why I don’t mind telling you that when you get home from camp, you may have to do a little light test prep. But wait, before you freak out and complain that it’s going to ruin your summer, I need you to understand why: You’re just not that smart. And look, even if, by some miracle, you do get into the middle school of your choice, it’s crucial to remember that not everyone gets to be exceptional. Everyone is not a firework. And the sooner you get used to the fact, the happier you’ll be.

So how was Color War? Did you win?

(Tough) Love, Dad

Day 8

Dear Sweetie, so last night Mommy and I went to that new shuffleboard place with Uncle Theo. (You know how sober people always need some kind of activity? So annoying). Anyway, he brought his new girlfriend, Ashley. I know you guys don’t like her but she’s the first girl that Theo’s gone out with after the rehab and the ankle bracelet and Aunt Meg’s restraining order and all. And it’s true, she does talk like a Kardashian but she is in PR. How do you think we got into the shuffleboard place?

When we got home we had kind of a surprise: Mommy’s old college roommate Wendy was sitting on the stoop with two giant suitcases. Mommy hugged her so hard she broke a heel.

“Where the fuck have you been?” Wendy asked. “Since when do you two go out?” She drove all the way from Dallas in a new Audi she says belongs to a friend. She’s between jobs so she’s going to stay for a couple of days. Or weeks. We’ll see.

Wish me luck. Love – Dad

Day 9

Hey Sweetie! What’s happening? So it turns out Aunt Wendy is going to stay a while. Mommy loves having her here and it’s not like she has anywhere else to be. Actually, it’s been fun for me, too. Last night we stayed up late looking at the dick pics on Wendy’s phone. Oh wait. I should explain: Sometimes when a Daddy loves a Mommy very much he’ll take a picture of his genitals and text it to her, just to show how much he cares. Let’s just say Wendy is pretty well-cared for! It’s so fun having her here. It’s so good for Mommy to let loose once in a while. She called in sick again today, so she and Wendy can go to Babeland and get drinks in the meatpacking district — like they used when it got uncool the first time.

PS –  I don’t think I’ll be hearing much of that meditation app tonight.

Day 10

Hi Precious Angel: Last night was just about the most ridiculous night of our lives. I don’t know who started the conversation or why it went in the direction it did but that night Mommy and Wendy and I were drinking and looking at dic pics, Mommy decided she wanted to have to try something new. (Remember when I explained how  Tinder was just like Grindr but for straight people? Well, Thrindr is like Tinder but for people like Mommy and me who love each other so much that they want to share that love with another person. So Thrinder is the app where you can find that other person). It took a couple days and some real sketchy text messages, but we found the perfect third person. Astrid is 27, lives in Jackson Heights and is totally cute but not in a threatening way. She’s like a girl you might see at Mommy’s yoga class — fit, pierced, and just a little off but in a way you can’t quite put your finger on.

Anyway, Mommy was so nervous but Astrid is so open-minded and grounded that she totally put us both at ease. I’ll spare you the details because, come on, what kind of father do you think I am? First we got a little high and then Astrid and Mom were totally going at it and Mommy was having so much fun that she just started laughing, and when she started laughing, she let out a tidy little fart. Oca-awkward I mean it was nothing, really, but not to Astrid. She got so bummed out that she started having second thoughts and said she’d lost her groove and needed to regroup. Next thing you know, I’m paying for an Uber to Jackson Heights! 37 dollars! Grounded, my ass. Mommy and I made fun of her for about an hour, hit the vape again, and then played with the new cordless Magic Wand she got at Toyland. That did the trick, let me tell you.

Day 11

Hey Angel! It’s Sunday and we’re taking it kind of slow here at home. Mommy went to hot yoga class this morning so she’s just gonna chill in the AC and scroll through Aunt Wendy’s phone until she wakes up. (She knows the code.) Gotta run up to the farmer’s market to score some Chanterelles before they run out. You know, just the usual. We love and miss you so much! Wish you were here! It’s just no fun without you. Love – Dad

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