I thought often of my son during the week, wondering whether he was having fun, what he was eating, how he was sleeping, and by what percentage point had his 'risk of death' actually increased. His nine-year-old sister drew pictures for him to present on his return. His three-year-old sister kept wandering into his room looking for him and asking if he was at Nana's (her long term memory seems a little undeveloped at this point).
And then, yesterday afternoon, it was time to pick him up.
There was my man, all tired and grubby, pulling behind him my fake crocodile skin suitcase and a water bottle the size of his head. My heart leapt. I rushed to give him a huge cuddle and he pushed me away.
"Mum, I'm eleven now," he said. "You'll ruin my reputation." Oh. God forbid.
And what happened at Camp Fear? Well, this was detailed to me sporadically over the course of the next five hours. For your convenience, I have summarised the key points below:
- There were no high ropes. This was a source of great relief to my son.
- There was a wombat hole, through which the children were required to crawl. This made no sense to me at all, but apparently made perfect sense to the kids.
- I packed too many clothes.
- I packed not enough socks.
- Dinner on the first night was 'the best meal ever'. This probably says more about the quality of my cooking than the quality of the camp's food.
- On the second day, my son was bitten by a 'spider with a red back'. As he survived to tell the tale, it clearly wasn't THE spider with a red back, but it still made me vomit a little to hear it.
- My son's tent-mate wept for the entire first day and night before having to go home. If I had to share a tiny two-man tent in the rain with a pre-pubescent boy who hadn't showered, I probably would have done the same.
- My son did not win the talent quest. He did, however, perform more vigorously than his two friends, who chose, in their piece, to portray 'rocks'.
- My son did not miss me or his father or sisters at all. He did, however, miss his gameboy, Wii and computer very much.
- The kids got to pet some alpaca goats. This made me smile.
- The kids then had an alpaca-goat-poo tossing contest. Hearing this made me vomit again a little. And when I had to remove his alpaca-goat-poo sullied clothes from his bag and put them in the wash, I vomited again.
And when my son went to sleep last night, I snuck into his room and gave him a gigantic hug. A reputation and a bit of alpaca poo isn't going to stop me.