A friend of mine actually hid from her husband how much it cost to pack her child for overnight camp. “He would have flipped out if he knew I spent a little more than $800 for all the supplies and clothes I needed for my daughter for camp.” On my end, my stomach turned when I saw the list of stuff I had to pack for my daughter for overnight camp. The list actually had more stuff on it than my daughter actually owns in all her dressers and four closets. And she’s only going for two weeks.

Last weekend, I went to visit a girlfriend. “Don’t even look in there,” she said as we passed by her guest bedroom. Of course I looked. There were so many clothes, in piles everywhere; it looked like her two kids were moving into a dorm room for college for a year. They were in the middle of packing for camp.

So, yes, I almost cried when I saw the list, not only because of the extra cash, but because this list would take me weeks to cobble together (or at least three very tiring days). When I went to overnight camp, I was sent with a sleeping bag and a trunk. I literally slept in a cabin that had a leak right over my head. I’d either wake up soaking wet from a rainstorm, or I’d wake up covered in mildew. And I loved it! But my mother certainly didn’t pack, as my daughter’s camp list says to pack, 12 short-sleeved T-shirts, four long sleeved t-shirts, and three WARMER long sleeved sweatshirts.

My daughter doesn’t even own six pairs of shorts, or hiking boots, and really? Three different TYPES of jackets? Not to mention “the bedding.” Like I said, I slept in a sleeping bag. Apparently, campers these days don’t actually camp. They stay at a hotel. A shitty hotel, but it’s definitely more of a hotel when I hear that I need to pack her with four sheets, two warm blankets, a comforter, two pillow cases and a pillow (plus a sleeping bag that’s only used for canoe trips). My daughter, ahem, doesn’t know how to make a bed even, so I’m sure she’ll really appreciate the fitted sheets I need to by her. (She has a double bed at home and I need to buy for single bed. But, apparently, she doesn’t have to make her bed at camp. The counselors will do it.)

This whole list – and I haven’t yet tackled to the other stuff on the list – makes me cringe. But it also makes me laugh hard. Last year, my daughter went to a different overnight camp. I dropped her off with her duffle bag (packed with way too much stuff) and shed a tear and took a picture. When she ran off the bus a week later and I was there to greet her, I couldn’t even hug her. That’s right! I couldn’t even hug my own daughter, because she smelled that bad. And she was also wearing the exact same thing I sent her to camp in the day she left, except when she got off the bus, her T-shirt was inside out and backwards and her fly was down on her shorts. Obviously, she hadn’t changed at all into the numerous shirts, shorts and sweat outfits I had packed for her.

Yes, she is a year older now and can shower and dress herself. But will she? Doubtful. “Why do I have to pack so much?” I moaned to a friend, who has four kids in camp. “Because she’s 8 and she’ll pull out a T-shirt to wear and three others will fall out and all the kids will step on them.” Right.

The funniest about the list is the other stuff – that doesn’t include clothes – that are on the list. For example, a small radio, so she can listen to the “camp radio station.” Also, a Halloween costume, for a special camp event. Now, I’m the mother scouring stores the day of Halloween. Try finding a Halloween costume at the end of June! Along with all the other 12 T-shirts, she also needs two white ones for tie-dyeing and one blue, one yellow, one green, and one red shirt as well for “tribal games.” And, this list does not include things EVERY OTHER GIRL apparently brings as well. (And you know if EVERY OTHER GIRL is bringing one, you should pack one for your daughter.)

My friend, who had a daughter go to this camp, told me “All the girls bring a tool box.” Actually, she asked me first, “Do you have a tool box?” I’m like, “Why would I have a tool box?” Well, apparently all the girls carry their own toolboxes, with locks, to keep their pencils, markers and diaries in them. And though no junk food is allowed, apparently the counselors let them have junk food for a couple days before taking it away. So I need some junk food, too. And a small personal fan. Argh!

The favorite thing on the camp list that my daughter is so excited about is deodorant. All she keeps saying, “Can you buy me deodorant. It’s on the list!” Yes, I told her, I’ll buy you a deodorant. It may be the one thing out of the TWO duffle bags that she may actually use. But I’m packing it all anyway. Because it’s on the list.

(Photo: Gorilla/Shutterstock)