The children returned to us. It went like this: Rocco talked nonstop on the hour and a half drive back from camp, telling us everything from how many times they served sausage at breakfast (twice!) (actually three times but one time the sausage was spicy so he only took one bite of one piece that day!) to which kid was most guilty of peeing on the floor right next to the toilet instead of in the toilet (it wasn’t him!) (he might have had just one drop, or like, two drops miss, but not a whole lot like that other kid did!).
Rocco was very excited about his purchases from the gift shop. He told us he bought a “flesh bag,” which worried me and Kevin. We cast each other a look that said Should we be sending our child to a camp that sells bags made out of flesh? But fortunately…
Mesh bag. He meant mesh.
That evening we got Vincenzo back and the boy barely had enough energy left to open his mouth to speak. It was an act of cruelty that we made him stay up long enough to eat dinner. I was genuinely concerned because I had sent off a goofy, bouncy boy to camp and gotten back a sullen, surly pre-teen. He’s never done well when he’s short on sleep, and V was really hurting. Fortunately we administered a strong dose of video games the next day and he bounced right back to himself.
Rocco’s funny how he tells stories. He mentioned early on in the drive that once he did well in a game of gaga ball. Later, he mentioned that there were 30 kids playing that time. Still later, he said he won that one round of gaga ball. And later, this came out:
Rocco: They gave me a nickname after that round I won.
Us: Oh? What nickname was that? Rocco: Jesus.
Us: They called you Jesus?!
Rocco: Yep. Jesus or sometimes Baby Jesus.
Baby Effing Jesus.
Then he added that his best friend wanted everyone to call him Lord Savage. You know—Jesus and his best friend, Lord Savage. I just wish I were creative enough to make some of this stuff up myself.
Vincenzo’s letter you saw already; you might have noticed his mention of how they put doors on the cabins this year, and my mom pointed out that he is probably the reason all the doors got put on cabins this year. (Last year Vincenzo sleep walked out of the cabin in the middle of the night. Fortunately his cabin counselor woke up and followed him out and had a very confusing time trying to understand Vincenzo’s garbled sleep talking.) As for sending him more money, I tried my best to get more money put in his account but it was too late. I felt badly for my little guy, who didn’t spend a penny from his account last year and probably wanted a sweatshirt or something just a couple dollars over his limit. This is a boy who never asks for anything, so I e-mailed back and forth with the camp director until we had a plan to get V the sweatshirt once he got back home.
Turns out he just needed $1.50 so he could buy a bottle of Gatorade for the ride home because he had blown all the rest of his money on caramel ice cream.
I have to admit, Kevin and I were kind of nervous to get our boys back after a week of raising one single, solitary kitty cat child. Heading to meet the boys felt like we were going to the hospital to be handed a set of brand new twin babies.
Within minutes of having them all back, they had done all the things that drive us crazy. Rocco and Leo got into it with each other, Vincenzo kept dropping knowledge all over Rocco, Rocco told Vincenzo he already knew that, Rocco and Vincenzo got into it, I yelled, “STOP THIS CONVERSATION!” Rocco had a last word, Kevin yelled at Rocco, Leo started tattling that Vincenzo was playing games on his phone, I confiscated said phone.
And then Kevin and I looked at each other and just cracked up. We all played our parts perfectly we deserved a standing ovation. We’re just so good at being Us.
Now I’m here typing after hours* and the house has that happy cat feeling it gets when all its bedrooms are filled with sleeping boys. The quietness once more feels like a gift instead of an abnormality. And me–I feel like a first time mom again, scared about what tomorrow might bring but also so excited, so full of anticipation, to see what my boys are going to do next.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Steak salad with tomatoes, strawberries, & blue cheese
*Wrote this post last night. Today I was too busy surviving the apocalypse to blog