Summer Camp

Daryl was showing considerable reluctance in packing for summer camp. His sister finally grabbed the list of required items sent by the camp and headed into his room to help. We heard her instruct him to find his Bible, a pen, a notebook, a flashlight…

“Ok, you need six pairs of socks.”

“But I’m only going to be there for five days!”

“You need an extra pair in case you have an accident.”

Daryl adopted an indignant expression. With considerable heat, he responded, “I am not going to have an accident.”

“I don’t mean in case you pee in your pants. I mean in case you slip in the mud or something!”

“Oh. Ok.”

Across the hall, my husband and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.

Later that night, shortly after all the children went to bed, I went through his suitcase to verify he had everything. Six pairs of socks, five shorts, six shirts, pajamas… wait.

“Daryl! You are not taking these winter pajamas! Are you crazy? Don’t you have some summer pajamas?!”

“No!” he called from his room.



I called my husband, who was at the store. “Please pick up some pajamas for Daryl. He’ll look like a fool wearing these.”

I continued to dig. Socks, shorts, shirts, pajamas, swimsuit, towels, shoes… Where is his underwear?



I walked into his room and flipped on the light. “You plan on wearing any underwear while you are at camp?”

“Oh. Sorry.” Reacting to my glare, he protested, “But it wasn’t on the list!”

I grabbed six pairs… just in case he has an accident, you know… and returned to the living room. His toothbrush was in a little bag but there was no toothpaste. Daryl is very particular about toothpaste. It can’t be mint or cinnamon, which rules out most of what we have in the house. We had just purchased him a tube of “acceptable” toothpaste earlier in the day.

I called my husband back. “Where’s the toothpaste you bought?”

“I don’t know. I gave it to Daryl.”

“Stay on the phone while I ask him where it is. Just in case you have to buy another one.”

Daryl’s recollection proved faulty. I had to move the suitcase and the sleeping dog to dig through the cushions of the couch, where he thought he had left it. I found a ten pound barbell under the cushions, but no toothpaste. I searched the surrounding area and then instructed my husband to buy another tube.

My final search through the suitcase revealed that Jane and Daryl had mistaken the Aloe Aftersun lotion for sunscreen. The boy hates sunscreen anyway. I can only imagine how upset he’d be to put it on every day and still burn to a crisp. Maybe the counselor would notice the problem. And wonder what the heck is wrong with his mother, most likely.

I’m glad I decided not to trust Jane’s packing assistance. It makes me wonder if I should go through her suitcase to see what’s missing.

A Matter of Etiquette

Our bathroom, the never-ending remodeling project, does not have a mirror or a sink. This is why I found myself in the kids’ bathroom drying my hair while Jane brushed her teeth.

As she rinsed her toothbrush, she dropped it into the recently spit toothpaste at the bottom of the sink, just as she was turning off the water. She grimaced at me slightly and then turned to wipe it clean on the washcloth hanging on the towel rack behind us.

“Jane! You should have rinsed it off before you wiped it on a towel that other people might use to wipe their faces!”

“What? You mean the washcloth that I used to clean my shoes?”

With eyes wide in disbelief, I said, “If you used that to clean your shoes, you shouldn’t have hung it up on the towel rack where other people might use it.”

“Oh,” she replied, looking slightly abashed. She quickly pulled it off the rack. And then turned to the mirror and… wiped the toothpaste from the corners of her mouth with it. Grinning at me as she did so.

And all this time, I thought it was boys that were supposed to be disgusting.