Love is in The Air When Kids Leave For Sleepaway Camp
Early this morning, as we instructed our daughter to clean the cat litter one last time, make her bed, and check in on her hamsters, it hadn't dawned on me that she'd be gone within 90 minutes. Not gone forever, thank goodness. Just gone for the next four weeks at what has become her home away from home each summer...sleepaway camp.
In my neck of the woods, once school ends and parents send their kids off to camp, a great majority of them suddenly become footloose and fancy free. While their kids are off asserting their independence in a bunk without lights, air conditioning, a TV set and their cell phones, my girlfriends suddenly are out on the town with their husbands, partying with their friends and sharing cocktails with co-workers. One girlfriend even confided that once her kids are gone, she and her husband become sex machines. And to be brutally honest, I am totally and utterly jealous.
Since I have one child at sleepaway camp and one at home, I'm not officially part of the "I got no kids for the summer and I'm ready to have a good time" group. While I have more freedom to go out with friends and even spend a few special date nights with my husband, oftentimes, I feel guilty leaving our son home alone with a sitter without someone to fight with (that would be his sister). I guess that's why tonight, when we'd normally arrange for someone to watch our kids so we can have "date night," our son will be joining us as at one of our favorite restaurants. Date night with Dylan. Good times.
Back on easy street, my kid-free friends are busy planning romantic vacations. One couple is spending their anniversary in France. Another is zipping off to the Berkshires, while a dozen women in my area have plans to see the Broadway show "Love, Loss and What I Wore." And what am I doing? Simple - I'm going to watch my son play travel baseball as I finish reading one of many books I have on my summer list and hopefully, in between, I'll plan my family's annual August vacation.
I know I shouldn't be jealous of friends whose homes officially become love shacks once their kids skip town for 7 weeks. It's just that sometimes I wish my husband and I could plan an impromptu rendezvous without trying to figure out who would watch our son, our two cats, two hamsters and two hermit crabs.
On the flip side, I guess I should appreciate the little time left we have with our kids. My son happens to be one of the most easy going kids I know and my daughter, while she can be difficult at times, is only three years away from not wanting to spend any time with us at all. I'd hate to miss out on their adolescent years, but have to admit that I wish I could be spending more alone time with my husband and my girllfriends. I guess eventually, when my kids become teens and then young adults (less than 10 years away for both), I'll be kicking myself for not wanting to spend every moment I could with them.
For now, as my husband and son are busy spending quality time together at the county pool (what I fondly refer to as "the concrete jungle"), I'm going to spend some quality time with myself. Time to shut down the laptop, slip on a pair of sneakers and disappear on my bike. For some parents, sleepaway camp means they get to rekindle the spark in their marriage. For me, it's a mixed bag - there's romance, there's fun with my friends, there's time for me to escape and do the things I love, and the chance to really get to know my son without his sister telling him he's a big goober.
God, I love sleepaway camp.