I know . . . it kinda sounds like "Earth to Jane."
When my daughter was a camper and later, a boarding student at the Academy, I'd put down the back seats of my minivan and load it with cases of "kid food." Gummy bears, goldfish, M&M's, chewing gum, miniature chocolate bars, trail mix, Ramen Noodles, Easy Mac, etc. piled just high enough to permit me to see out the rear window.
When I arrived, she'd enlist her friends to help unload. My daughter glowed. "Mom buys everything in industrial sizes." They shared a cabin with bunk beds and the kids used the center of the room to create a mountain of treats. They scooped up armloads and deposited them on their bunks, to be divvied up later and shared.
When she was admitted to the Academy as a freshman, I sent money for a weekend pizza party on wintry nights. I once sent a "Tower of Treats," which arrived in blue boxes tied with glossy ribbon, containing a variety of delicacies dipped in chocolate.
I still own a sweatshirt I purchased years ago. The cuffs are ragged, but I still wear it. "MOM" is stitched above the Interlochen logo. It's too large and the first time I wore it my daughter laughed and said, "It looks like you're Mom to Interlochen."
Interlochen changed my daughter's life. The first time I took her to camp, we stayed in an empty cinder block dormitory on separate twin beds. "Mommy," she said, "it feels like I have butterflies in my stomach." We slept beneath thin blankets on hard mattresses with flat pillows, all of which had seen years of use.
The next day, as I was getting her settled, a tiny girl, a pianist, stood silently as her bags were unpacked by a stranger. She was Japanese and didn't know a word of English. She was 8 years old. After her temporary custodian left, she began silently weeping. I knelt, wrapped my arms around her and said, in words she couldn't understand, "You're so far from home." She sobbed into my collar bone.
When I returned to bring my daughter home, to the barren house we'd share without her dad, both little girls, my daughter and the tiny Japanese girl whose name I can't recall, had metamorphosed. They were kids with dirty socks and big smiles.