This Sunday, I’ll be taking Jacob to summer camp. This is monumental for both of us: it will be Jacob’s first time at overnight camp, complete with full-time counselors and bunk beds. And it will be my first time letting Jacob stay overnight at a place other than one of his primary homes (my house, his dad’s, or his grandparents’). You can safely assume I’m having a proper wiggins.

However, it’s tempered by the fact that I spent 7 summers at this camp growing up, from the time I was 7 until I was 14. I have nothing but fond memories of the camp and the friends I made there, and I feel fortunate that I was able to maintain at least one of those friendships (with some expected periods of distance, of course) – in 2 weeks, I’ll be flying to San Francisco and crashing for a week at the home of Jon the Artist, who I met at 14 at said camp. We canoed the Shenandoah together for 4 days, exchanged more than a handful of letters, and felt all around swoony about being 14 and making some profound connection with another human being. Of course now we’re older and there are thousands of miles between us, but when I look at my life and the people in it, I feel lucky to have Jon.

I hope Jacob has fun and isn’t homesick. I hope he likes the lake and the cabins, I hope he learns to shoot using a bow and arrow. I hope he climbs the new rock wall, eats in the old dining hall, learns goofy camp songs and makes cheesy crafts. I hope he comes home with a pocket full of phone numbers for friends in towns I’ve never heard of, and a head full of memories that he will someday look back on fondly. I wish him bug bites and dirt between his toes, flashlight wars and cabin pranks. I wish him terrible food and at least one rainy day. I wish him turtles and dragonflies and pine cones. I wish him good friends.

Rachel and Jon, 8/20/1993

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