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My 10-year-old son, Andrew, attended sleep away camp this summer for the first time. He returns this Sunday, Aug 12th, and, by all accounts, he had a blast. Right from the start, every letter was positive, every phone call upbeat, every image of him on the camp website full of smiles.

“I love how they always have their arms around each other in the group shots,” my mom commented.

“I know, so cute,” I agreed. He was growing up right before my eyes.

The first time Brett and I talked to him, we noticed that Andrew’s voice was raspy. “Are you sick?” I asked. “You sound like you have laryngitis.”

“Nah, I’m fine,” he said, clearly sounding hoarse. “We had a color chase last night and we screamed a lot. The greenie meanies were after us!”

“Well, maybe you should just rest your voice today,” Brett added from the other cordless phone. We stood next to each other in the kitchen, each armed with our own telephone, so we could all talk together.

“Maybe gargle with salt water,” I suggested. “Or go to the health center for a cough drop.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, okay,” he said. He definitely wasn’t going to do anything about his voice. This kid was humoring us, we knew, and we were babying him, we knew. But we have roles to fill in life and we fill them: the worried parent, the happy-go-lucky-camper.

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