I’m the mom who forgot her kid at camp.

No, you say. You seem reasonably conscientious, not a taker of illegal drugs at this late date in middle age. (34- that’s middle aged now, right? Maybe early 2/3, with a little luck and some cardio. Note to self: drink more pomegranate juice.)

But yeah, I did. And not like day camp, “Oh shoot it’s 5:30 and I ought to have been there at 5:15…” No, this was forgetting on a grander scale.

I actually didn’t really forget him so much as I didn’t pick him up on the right day. I had grand plans for the Sunday pick-up. His bio-dad and I were going to meet there, so his dad could see the camp for the first time, then all go back to my parent’s house for J’s delayed 12th birthday celebration. That would have made sense, right? Drop a kid off on a Sunday, pick him up two weeks later on a Sunday. But no. Whoops.

So on Friday, I take Dan to Dulles so he can go do his European tour thing with his band. After we dropped him, around 4, the little kids are asleep in their carseats, we’re almost out of gas, and I had a little too much Red Bull after lunch, making me really want to find a gas station pronto. But I was resisting getting off the highway, trying to avoid the infamous DC rush hour.

Just as my fun game of “When Will I Run Out of Gas/Pee My Pants in the Car” was getting really interesting, my cell phone rang.

“Mrs. Maines, this is so and so, from Camp (Insert fictitious Name of Your Choice here).” My heart, of course, stopped. “It’s not an emergency,” he hastened to assure me. “We just wanted to know when you’d be picking J up.”

I relax. “About 2 on Sunday.”

Loooooooooooooong silence. Then, “Um. Yes. Well, Today’s actually pick-up day. Can you get here by 6?”

Let’s see. It’s 5 o’clock in DC rush hour, and I have to get off the highway to get gas and pee before I spontaneously combust, then magically float over the beach traffic to get to Annapolis by 6. Man.

“Of course!” I reply, then hang up to cry and berate myself.

After a quick pit stop, we were on a mission. It quickly became apparent that there was no way in heck I would make it before the day camp closed at 6. Then, inspiration struck: my birth Grandmother lives 15 minutes or so from the camp. I called information, dialed her number, and explained the situation…you know, that I forgot my kid.

Luckily, she’s not judgey. “I’ll get him, but I’m not sure they’re just going to hand him over,” she said dubiously. But they did. Despite the papers I had to sign, carefully detailing who was allowed to claim him, turns out three hours late on pick up day they’re not too picky. After I called to explain the situation, another problem occurred to me. If they told J a grandma would be picking him up, he’d expect my mom or MIL, not his more unfamiliar Great-grandma whom he rarely sees.

So I call the camp back. “If it seems like he doesn’t really recognize her, don’t be alarmed…it really is the right person…” I explained, sounding highly unconvincing and possibly criminal to my own ears.

“I’m sure it’s fine,” the counselor replied, anxious to go home after a summer of other’s progeny.

When I finally got to her house at 7, (Of course I got lost, what with having no directions) he was in a tree reading a book. He’s so my kid.

“Sorry I forgot you,” I said.

“Oh, it’s OK. Grandmother sent me a letter saying she’d see me after you picked me up on Sunday, so I knew that you would.”

I pause to consider, then shrug. Someone needs to teach that child how to use the phone.

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Comments (20)

  1. Susan Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    My dad forgot me every single time he was supposed to pick me up at orchestra practice. I was in middle school and practice was at the high school. And not just any high school, the Cool Kid high school, where kids went when The Man Was Getting Them Down. We were sure they were allowed to smoke pot in the hallways. Did I mention I played violin? Skinny kid with violin case left standing among older, cooler kids longer than absolutely necessary. Awesome. Still, dad rocked.
  2. Devilish Southern belle Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    I am forgetting stuff all the time. We just have so much going on, it's impossible (even with the help of calendars and such) to remember it ALL. Heh. It sounds like he totally would have stayed at camp till Sunday if they had let him :)
  3. Rightmyer Rants Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    I don't think you're really considered a parent until you have forgotten one of your kids at least once! It happens to the best of us!
  4. Jenny Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    When my now 9-year-old was in kindergarten, I forgot to go on his field trip. Um, a field trip I was a DRIVER for. A field trip that I was actually responsible for getting 3 kids to. A field trip the teacher then had to drive them to even though technically that is way against the rules. Did I mention that this particular teacher did not really care for me very much? Or for my kid? Yeah, wow, big brownie points for us!
  5. Oldmommy Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    Oh, I can SO relate to your posting! I've actually done the same thing. Felt like getting out the cat 'o' nine tails and flogging myself! I started my first blob (I like it better than blog) today. Please pay me a visit!
  6. WPoFD Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    You teach him to use a phone and he can teach you to read a calendar. What's with pomegranate juice?
  7. Diane Wednesday - 20 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    I have nightmares about stuff like this!
  8. maggie, dammit Friday - 22 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    OH. MY. GAH. This is so funny to me, but only because it sounds exactly like something I would do.... and, clearly, he was unphased. Don't beat yourself up too much, mama. It made for a great blog. :)
  9. Myra Friday - 22 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    Seriously made me laugh tonight. Love that he took it in stride. That's a cool kid.
  10. MyDoppleganger Saturday - 23 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    I'm laughing because, even though my kid's only 15 months old, I know I will forget her somewhere. There's just too much going on to remember everything. I'm glad you had a backup plan. And I agree, it seemed like it didn't phase him too much. I say, Eh. Next time I'll get it.
  11. Sugar Saturday - 23 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    My kids are always the last ones being picked up from stuff. Usually, it's because I've over-loaded myself with other things to do, but sometimes it's playing the pee-when-I-get-there game. That game just messes with you, doesn't it? I like how the camp counselors are like yeah, whoever gets his, whatever... nice. Thanks for your comments at Living-InTheory. Change isn't always fun. Hope it all turns out.
  12. Jo G. Saturday - 23 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    I love this story and now I no longer feel bad about showing up for Elyse Blazey's slumber party on the wrong day anymore.
  13. feener Sunday - 24 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    oh my gosh !! very funny, although a bit scary - glad it worked out fine.
  14. rockrollmama Sunday - 24 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    Thanks guys. I feel much better about it after reading your comments and seeing it's not just me. OK, maybe THAT one was just me, but you know what I mean. He's working it, too- it's hilarious. "J, wold you please take the trash out?" "Ummm, I dunno. You DID forget me at camp-" With a wicked grin. "I might be too scarred." I'm all "You're GONNA be scarred..." cause I like to get all bad Bill Cosby on his ass. Then he does it.:)
  15. piglet Sunday - 24 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    this is funny and i am so glad you wrote about it. i do stuff like this almost all of the time and then i commence to kicking my ass mentally about it. i once locked my son in the car when he was only about three months old and it was winter. i have some relatives up there in anapolis (at least that's where i think they are). my mom hails from dc, she went to the all female catholic school. thanks again for writing about it :) very well done.
  16. Mary Jenkins Sunday - 24 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    left you an award at my blog!
  17. MammaDawg Monday - 25 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    OMG - thank goodness I'm not the only one. I've had the school have to call me a couple of times to pick up one of my sons. So I FINALLY decided to set my cell phone alarm to go off when I need to pick him up. lol - LOVED your story!!
  18. Scattered Mom Tuesday - 26 / 08 / 2008 Reply
    Omg that was so funny :) What a great comedian you have there!
  19. Danielle Friday - 05 / 09 / 2008 Reply
    This is hysterical! And he KNEW the whole time!! Boys!
  20. Marina Sunday - 14 / 09 / 2008 Reply
    Nice site. Thanks, admin.

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