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How my daughter packs for sleepaway camp

Danielle Smith is a former award-winning television news anchor and reporter turned digital correspondent, host, spokesperson, media trainer, lover of all things video and public s

One, two, don't forget your shoes

I'm the family packer for every trip we have ever taken... and I'm frequently a last-minute kind of girl.

I pack for me.

I pack for my small dude.

I pack for my small girl.

But not this time. This time, Delaney is only allowing me a supervisory role. You see... she is heading to sleepaway camp for the very first time. By the time I looked at the 'must-pack' list online, she had already sought it out, printed it and had begun the process of laying every item out on her bed. (OK... so maybe she is part laying them out and part tossing them like she's trying out for the WNBA!)

One, two, don't forget your shoes

This should be the first clue about her level of enthusiasm, and admittedly, my mother's heart is taking a bit of a beating.

In a matter of months, she has leapt from a sweet girl, often afraid of new experiences, timid around new people, fearful of being on her own... to this brave, bold, witty mini-wonder, so curious about the path in front of her.

I'm fascinated by her transformation and giddy for the goodness she will experience as she opens her mind and heart in the coming weeks. She certainly knows there will be the fun of swimming and zip-lining, horseback riding and boating, but what I know is that the mountains of laughter, the conversations, the inside jokes that pepper her time away will be the memories that she carries home.

I sat in her room as she set out her shirts both short- and long-sleeved, underwear and socks, pajamas, multiple pairs of tennis shoes, bathing suits, sun block and bug spray, her toothbrush and toothpaste, extra contacts and even a trash bag for her dirty laundry and wet clothes.

One, two, don't forget your shoes

She grabbed her pillow and sleeping bag and even a few of those comfort items for the moments when she just might feel a little homesick.

One, two, don't forget your shoes

On the list of items the camp suggested: stationery and stamps. Delaney, a true member of her generation, was baffled... what in the world would she need with either of these items? I smiled and said, "in case you miss your dad and me and decide you want to send us a little note to tell us about how much fun you are having... what you are doing every day, and maybe that you can't wait to see us." I'm comforted that she didn't roll her eyes. She did however, give me a big smile, a half hug and an "oh mom... "

At the rate she is talking about this trip, she is confident she won't miss us at all... at least she is certain she won't miss her little brother, but I think she just might find she misses her dad and me just a little.

But I can tell you this with absolute certainty: I will miss her.

As I share this with you right now, I miss her already and she is still at my fingertips.

Have you sent your children to sleepaway camp? What do you make sure they pack to keep them safe, comforted and having the best experience while they are away from home? I think I just mind need all the advice (and comfort) you have to offer.

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