“So, do I put my deodorant on in the shower?” My almost nine year old son Daniel asks me. He’s more excited about the deodorant he’ll get to use at sleepaway camp than anything else. Sure, the lure of complete independence and the promise of adventure is in there. But right now, it’s all about the deodorant. And not just any old deodorant. It has to be Axe. As does his body wash and shampoo.
Why Axe? Has he somehow seen the commercials where nerdy guys spray it on and are instantly covered in hot women? It’s more likely that his older cousin, the very definition of cool to Daniel, has the same products strewn about his bathroom.
Unfortunately, I suspect he’s going to smell more like a French prostitute than a babe magnet. But I’m sure he won’t be the only one. And at least he’ll be a happy, deodorant-wearing prostitute.
In addition to his toiletries, the to-buy-for-camp list is long and complicated and I’ve spent the vast majority of the past few days going from store to store feeling like I’m on a treasure hunt. Do you have a bunk bed hanging thingymajig? You do? Awesome. This travel soap dish isn’t connected and I know he’ll lose the top the second he opens it. Better go to another store. Goggles, sunglasses, five swim towels, five bath towels, three hundred shirts, fifty pairs of shorts, a clip-on fan. Check.
It’s not hard exactly. It just challenges my organizational skills at the same time that it makes me feel like my little boy is moving out. Should I buy him some Ikea furniture to take along? Isn’t camp supposed to be roughing it? One outfit that you wear until it’s moldy and stinky? Sunscreen, bug spray and you’re done?
I also can’t imagine that my sweet boy knows the difference between a swim and bath towel or cares. Or that he’s going to fold anything into neat stacks. More likely, he’ll just ball up his clothes and shove them into a cubby and pull them out at random.
I worry that he can’t get along without my help. But I know he’ll be fine and will probably thrive without my overmothering. He’s excited and ready for this, desperate for some measure of independence. And while I silently freak out, I’m equally thrilled for him. I just hope he remembers to put on underwear and doesn’t use his deodorant as his shampoo.