You bought the six-pack of bug spray and you've name-tagged your heart out. Now, trunk in tow, your kid is finally ready to make their way to that lakeside heaven where they'll sing campfire songs by the light of the silvery moon and eat s'mores until they're sick.
It's all fun and games and "Kumbaya."
Well, sure, until you get their first letter home and contemplate calling the FBI.
According to Laura Berman, relationship therapist and host of Uncovered Radio, there's no need to read too deeply into these sad, sad missives — no matter how desperate your kids may sound. (In other words: A real-life psychologist is cool with you laughing hysterically at your kid's expense.)
"Obviously, it's a good idea to call up the camp administration if things seem particularly dreadful," she told TODAY. "But most of the time, your kids are just experiencing an 'off' day. They'll be back to having the time of their lives within hours."
That doesn't mean you should totally abandon your offspring in their hour of need. A compassionate reply letter is always encouraged. But let this be a moment of appreciation — and/or total hilarity — rather than horror.
"For many kids, camp is the first time they're actually exposed to feelings of autonomy and separation," continued Berman. "So it's actually an exciting moment for them, and though it can also be terrifying, try to focus on and cherish the good."
So, assuming that your kid is not in danger of losing his or her life, and is actually just extremely...er...creative, we think you'll find these viewer-submitted camp letters as funny as we did.
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1. Yeah. Whatever, fools. It's chill.
2. How to give your parents a heart attack.
3. If I must.
4. The nerve. The absolute nerve.
5. DISTRESS SIGNAL.
6. Poor Sam.
7. She's watching you. With her HEART.
8. On second thought, the whole "It is really fun here" thing may have been an overstatement.
9. Greyson, you're a pro. We have to commend you for this one.
11. Madi and Stella are intent on saving paper. They're also intent on not communicating with you.
12. Camp Coachella, anyone?
13. Stay strong, parents. Stay strong.
14. The much-anticipated letter arrives, aaaaaaand...