My parents worked hard behind the scenes to make sure I felt like every other kid in my class. They did things for me that I only found out about a decade or so later. One example is Sixth Grade Science Camp.
The highlight of the year for any young nerd such as my then self. The biggest threat of the year for any parent with an allergic kid.
But I just HAD to go. And because my parents made a tremendous effort to ensure my normalcy… I went.
First stop: Robinson’s May department store for a winter coat fit for cold weather (I’m from always sunny Southern California, ok?). A few stops later: Science Camp!
Now to be honest, I don’t remember every detail. But I do remember my mom was nervous. And I mean nervous. Not because of all the super cool science-y things I would learn there, but because the camp was not close to home and she couldn’t simply supervise the kitchen staff. It was breakfast, lunch, and dinner served by who knows, chaperoned by not her.
It took a lot of faith on the part of my parents. Faith in my peers, my friends, my teachers, and faith in me. That faith they have instilled in me has stayed, and I am incredibly lucky and thankful for it.
So as science camps tend to go… I was having an absolute blast. Until I literally had a blast. From my flashlight. That contained batteries. That exploded. In my hand.
I kid you not. I was in the cafeteria and all of a sudden a loud BANG goes off. Everyone looked my direction while I looked down at my hand. My flashlight literally exploded and the ring in my ears and in the ears of my friend standing next to me was unrelenting.
So my parents got a call. Now imagine from their perspective for a second:
They sent their kid off to science camp with only one reason for a call: an emergency. And in my world, emergency = allergic reaction.
I was in the cafeteria, after all. Ironic, isn’t it.
Thankfully, they could rest easy, it was just an explosion on my wrist. Thankfully, it was nothing too serious and I was able to continue learning how to make other things explode.
But here is where the behind the scenes action comes in: my mom pre-packed all of my meals and sent them up with my teacher. That means breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and utensils. All pre-made, pre-portioned, and prepackaged. All so I could go to camp for 5 days like everyone else.
Some would argue that sending me up with a week’s worth of food is a total helicopter mom move. And maybe it is. But it was also the move of a concerned mother who wanted her kid to feel just like everyone else.
And it worked, and I did. I was fine and science camp went off… well… with a bang.