Every time someone in my family trips, we immediately point to whatever it was that was tripped over and say, “Have that removed.” In case you don’t recognize the line (I didn’t until I met my husband; since then, I’ve heard and said it more times than I care to admit. Apparently we trip a lot.), it’s from “Stripes.” I’ve only seen bits and pieces of “Stripes,” my kids haven’t seen any of it… and yet, we own that line like it’s nobody’s business.
I have never, ever, EVER wanted to point at something and say, “Have that removed” more than I did this past winter. Only this time we haven’t just tripped. We have wiped out and fallen headfirst into a seemingly bottomless pit of despair. I grow more bitter and defensive every time I utter its name, so for the sake of this blog post, let’s just call it… THE SCHMEXSCHMOX. Or, more specifically… SCHMORTNITE.
When I was growing up, we had an Atari. I liked it a lot. I’d go down to the basement, plop myself down on the psychedelic orange carpet, and play Kaboom, Circus Atari, PacMan or Night Driver. I did this pretty much whenever I wanted…
WHEN I COULDN’T FIND ANYTHING BETTER TO DO!!!
I didn’t play competitive sports. I wasn’t an overly scheduled kid. And yet, despite the fact that it was the olden days, I usually managed to find something better to do. Like ride my bike or roller-skate around the block. Rearrange my sticker collection. Write a letter. Whip up a delicious treat in my Betty Crocker Easy-Bake Oven. Read a book. Hook a rug. Listen to my boom box… one finger on PLAY, another on RECORD… and wait for my favorite song.
The best part? When I played with my friends, they were actually there. Like, with me. In the same room. Not virtually… actually. Sure, there were plenty of people back then who communicated through headsets. But I didn’t personally know any air traffic controllers or coaches of professional sports teams, so that just wasn’t my world.
It’s my world now. OMG, just thinking about it again makes my whole body tense up. This is no joke. Some of you may have no idea what I’m talking about. LUCKY. Others may know exactly what I’m talking about, but somehow you’ve managed to avoid this particular pit. GENIUS. In fact, you’re my heroes… and not the kind of hero I tell my husband he is when he fixes something and I sing the refrain from “Wind Beneath My Wings.” To you, I ask: How have you managed to keep it out of your home? HOW DID YOU KNOW???
I didn’t know. And for that, I am ashamed. Back when my kids were playing Minecraft and Madden, we were totally fine… or so I thought. I see now that those were just gateway games. I still can’t understand how a free download could wreak such havoc on a family, but it has on ours. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve stormed downstairs and ripped that cord out of the wall, then stormed back upstairs to hide the console. I’ve applauded myself for having the will to keep it away from them for weeks on end, even when it was partly (mostly) because I had absolutely no idea where I’d hidden it.
But in the end, I always give it back. Why? WHY? I mean, it’s not like I have a list…
Reward for good behavior or good grades.
Incentive to wake up and get ready for school in record time, including personal hygiene that would otherwise involve incessant yelling or not take place at all.
I do take comfort in knowing I’m not alone in this sorry pit. I know it because every time I post a Crest Countdown photo with a camper in front of a screen, it elicits more comments than all the other posts combined. And that’s when I’m reminded that this pit isn’t bottomless at all. In fact, I like to picture the bottom as a giant trampoline. We might hit it at different times, but it always propels us all to the same place:
You want your kid to unplug? Send him to camp.
You want your kid to look his friends in the eye when he talks to them? Send him to camp.
You want your kid to run around and get sweaty and dirty every single day, without you having to worry even once about doing his laundry? Send him to camp.
You want your kid to use his imagination and make up games and laugh out loud? Send him to camp.
You want your kid to live like it’s the 70’s and 80’s, but without the bad hair? Send him to camp.
You want your kid to be a part of the most beautiful brotherhood, learn to appreciate the most beautiful sunsets, and make some of the most beautiful memories of his entire childhood?
Send him to Bauercrest.