Port Washington, NY (July 27, 2015) – They couldn’t wait to see their darling Melyssa at Camp Wanna-Be. The anticipation and excitement of not seeing their precious first born for the past four weeks was too much for any parent to handle. They woke up before the rise of the morning sun, crammed the SUV with more crap than one can fathom, and started the nearly two and half hour trek to their daughter’s summer home away from home. The Newmans had everything they needed to ensure a perfect visiting day except a small but very, very important detail: they forgot their five-year old son, Jake, who was still soundly sleeping at home.
From the moment Joelle and Scott Newman, both 41, of Port Washington, LI dropped Melyssa off at the camp bus nearly a month ago, they’ve been preparing for their long-awaited reunion with their first born. A spare room in their split-level home was being used as the staging area for their Visiting Day festivities. Filled with bunk tanks and sweatshirts, toiletry reinforcements, bathing suits, and the coup de grace, a candy Eiffel Tower, the contents of room were painstakingly loaded into their vehicle late Friday evening for their early Saturday trip.
They began their drive at around 5:30 am to ensure an 8:00 am arrival for the 11:00 am start of the day. Joelle went over her checklist multiple times. “Food. Check. Candy. Check. Blanket. Check. Chairs. Check. Bathing suits/change of clothes. Check. List of questions for the group leader and camp director. Check. We’re good honey,” stated Joelle about half way to the camp. “We’re in great shape making great time. All of our planning has really paid off. Today’s going to be a perfect day!”
About 15 minutes away from their destination, Scott realized that the ride had been pretty stress-free with no bathroom breaks, no hearing “I’m hungry” or requests to change the radio from Sirius 90’s on 9 to Disney Kids. “I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had a feeling there was something we forgot then I looked back at Jake and realized he wasn’t there and I was like ‘OH SHIT’,” explained the clearly concerned father. “I didn’t want to say anything to Joelle because I figured she would blame me and so I just kept my trap shut and hoped she wouldn’t notice. I didn’t even want to know whether she would make me turn around or not. I don’t think she would have.”
As the day progressed, Joelle became more oblivious to the fact that her five year-old was home alone a la Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McAllister in the 1990 smash hit “Home Alone” as she immersed herself in her daughter’s camp experiences. While her single-minded focus remained on Melyssa, Scott deflected any inquiries from friends as to the whereabouts of young Jake. “He’s on the soccer field, he’s swimming, he’s getting me mustard for my hot dog, he’s in the bathroom” were just a few of his retorts.
Mrs. Newman still had a euphoric glow during the ride home. The happy mother beamed about how well Melyssa was doing in her second summer at Wanna-Be before she fell asleep for the remainder of the ride. Her husband let her continue her much needed nap and upon pulling in the garage, quickly rushed inside to make sure their son was still in the house.
Seeing Jake who had been the couch playing on his iPad for the past ten hours was a gigantic relief for the stressed father. “He told me he played Crossy Roads for the entire day and that we were the best parents in the world for not bothering him or making him eat or shower. I don’t think he realized we were gone,” explained Scott who then took Jake up to his room to retire for the night.
Joelle woke from her nap, came into her son’s room, marveled at how peaceful Jake was sleeping, turned to her husband and said, “Looks like someone had a fun day seeing his sister at Camp Wanna-Be!”