You know the one.
About the “Running of the Jews”?
Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me.
Are you surprised?
Because The Running is totally a thing.
Like, TOTALLY totally.
It sounds awful.
But until you’ve been there, until you’ve actually run a mile in 4-inch wedges carrying a four-foot Dylan’s Candy Bar tower while simultaneously trying to keep your six-year-old from getting trampled, you think you know… but you really have no idea.
Because what you don’t yet realize — couldn’t yet know — is that the minute your car begins it’s long, slow inch up the winding camp road, all the emotion that’s been building up over the last few weeks will slowly start to bubble to the surface until it smacks you in the face and takes over your entire body.
This is why we run.
We run because Visiting Day is the best day ever and the absolute worst. Because our kids seem at once totally the same and yet completely different. Because the day feels in turns surreal and all too real. Because it drags on forever and goes by in an instant. And then the hug hello is suddenly a kiss goodbye and the next thing you know you are back in your car as if the whole thing never happened.
This is why we run.
We run because the minute the camp comes into view we suddenly find ourselves incapable of singing along to the radio or holding even the simplest conversation.
We run because there are butterflies in our stomachs that unnerve us like high school seniors on prom night.
We run because everything our husbands say is wrong. And they way they are driving is wrong. And now we’ve officially lost cell service.
We run because the adrenaline makes our hands shake as we fumble for our iphones to repeatedly check the time. 10:01… 10:02… 10:04…
We run because the tears burn as they hit the back of our eyes the second we park the car and plant our first foot on camp soil. Tears that we don’t even notice falling freely down our face as we finally envelope our child and breathe in their familiar scent for the first time in a month.
And only when we do will we realize that in all this time, over all these weeks, we haven’t really been breathing at all.
This is why we run.
Not in a race against other parents.
But in a race to see our children.
Not to prove how much we love them.
But BECAUSE of how much we love them.
Is it ridiculous to buy your kid a $100 worth of candy they only have 24 hours to consume?
Is it crazy to stock a cooler with sushi and shrimp shumai and bagels and schmears when the camp is giving away free lunch?
And is it insane to rush the waterfront with a big ass beach blanket in order to secure prime real estate like it’s Christmas vacation at the Boca Beach Club?
Unless it’s Visiting Day.
In which case all of these things are completely excusable and in some cases totally mandatory.
You just might not realize it yet.
Because while you were busy getting the color war swag and the rainbow loom refills and the personalized stamps, you forgot about something way more important.
Something that starts with an “L” and ends with an “E” and no I’m not talking about licorice, athough you should totally bring that too.
I’m talking about love.
The unconditional kind.
And that’s what we are running towards.
We run towards it on shaking legs the minute the rope breaks without even realizing that we’ve started running.
We run towards it with pounding hearts and wet, cloudy eyes that barely register the determined strides of the parents on either side.
We run towards it like Toto… like Forrest… like Rocky and Apollo tearing up the beach.
Eye of the tiger, baby!
And yes we may have carts and coolers and tricked-out candy packages — all of which will be donated to Morry’s Camp for underprivileged children after 48 hours.
But that’s not why we are running.
We are running towards love for the simple reason that we know our kids are anxiously waiting for it on the other side.
Speaking of which.
If we’re being totally honest, we didn’t run on our first Visiting Day.
Because we thought we were too cool to run that’s why. And so we decided to take the high road and arrive fashionably late. By which I mean 45 minutes early.
Only in this case, the high road was already packed with cars about 300 deep. And so when the gates officially opened to signal the start of Visiting Day, we were still miles away from camp. By the time we finally made it to our daughter’s bunk, she had already taken off and was wandering around like a sad, lost puppy as cheerful reunions took place all around her.
How much do we suck?
Needless to say… we now get there early and run our freaking asses off.
I don’t need to be the first chick at the gate in the morning.
But I will never again be the last.
And if this makes me seem hysterical and over-the-top then I will happily own those titles any day of the week.
Because in the profound words of Icona Pop: I don’t care! I love it!
These are our children we are talking about here.
Our spirit animals, our hearts, our home.
So go ahead and run.
Or don’t run.
To each his own.
But please don’t rain on our parade when you haven’t even been to it yet.