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The One-Line, Crumpled Letter From Camp That Told Me Everything

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Our son loves camp. Given the opportunity, he’d probably stay there all summer. While this breaks my mommy heart a little, it also makes me very proud of the independent, risk-taking, fun-loving, human he’s become.

He tried waterskiing for the first time this year, he loves tearing around the mountain bike trails, likely doing things that would cause me cardiac distress, and he adores the singing and Israeli dancing. He came home this week with a whole new set of moves—and, given that I’m a dance teacher, that’s really saying something.

I sent him off, as usual, with some pre-addressed envelopes: one for his grandparents, one for his bubbe and one for his best friend. That was the list he had made before he left.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when we came home the other week to a letter in the mailbox. Kindly addressed by one of the adults at camp, it appeared empty at first. It was a minor miracle that there was anything inside—given that he’d forgotten to seal it.

At the bottom of the envelope was one tiny folded piece of paper, torn from his notebook. I unfolded it while standing on our front step, perplexed. On the paper he’d written, in pencil crayon: “I’m having a great time.” No signature, no other bits of paper with more details (I checked, believe me).

I laughed out loud, my mirth echoing around the empty summer street. Then I walked over to our neighbors to show them and we all laughed together; it was so wonderfully, typically, him.

When my husband got home, we laughed again. We imagined the cross-bunk conversation that might have preceded his writing: “What should I tell my parents?” “Tell them you’re having a great time!” The envelope is now posted on our refrigerator and we’ll be saving it to share at choice moments… like maybe at his bar mitzvah, or wedding.

We got a second letter a few days after that.  This one just said “Fank you”—(We live in French Canada and there’s no “th” sound in French, so he approximated phonetically.)

What a kid.
While I would have loved a series of long juicy letters describing his many adventures, ultimately he told me everything I needed to know. “I’m having a great time.” It’s all that really matters.
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