My Kids Are on Vacation: Now What?
When my kids were younger, and I was around moms with older kids, I would be amazed at the conversations about daycare and summer camps and anything else that would keep the kids busy and out of the house on those long summer days.
I thought it would be fun to have the kids home all day with me – and at the time I did. We would wake up late after long snuggles in air-conditioned rooms, under covers in a comfy bed. We would spend the day discovering New York City and finding ways to keep ourselves busy. We would delight in finding new sprinklers and shaded playgrounds and free museum access. Life was good.
Then my kids got older and started going to school. Suddenly, time alone with me was not only not what they wanted, but also not what I could deal with for 10 hours or more. Entertaining boys 5, 6 and 14 years of age is a huge challenge and exhausting.
Thus, all my boys will be going to summer camp this year. At first, when I went to sign them up, I was planning on just the first session. But as I sat in the small office filling out the endless amount of paperwork, I notice my boys getting more and more restless, convincing me to sign them up for as many weeks as I could.
There was a part of me that felt guilty in having my boys busy all summer long, away from me. I struggled with the guilt that I wasn’t going to be spending as much time as I could with them.
But the more we talk to them about what they are going to be doing, the more excited they are to meet new friends and hang out with the ones that they already know there. They love the idea of going to the pool every day – something I certainly wasn’t going to do with them, and of arts and crafts, sports and other activities – all from 9 to 3 each day.
That would be a lot for me to take on. I certainly wouldn’t meet the standards of busy-ness that the young counselors will engage them in. And, bottom line, I may like to think myself fun, but I am not as fun as their friends. I will of course take advantage of a few days and keep them to myself, because I can and because it’s my summer too, but I already know they will be aching to go back to their fun and friends and activities.
Thus, another chapter in the book of “letting go slowly”, and the slight sting of sadness that follows with every small realization that my little babies are no more. I know they are going to have a blast. I know they are going to love this experience as much as my now 14 year old loved it when I first sent him to camp. I know that I will appreciate not being the one stuck out at the pool, in the dead heat, with two boys begging for play dates and ice cream every five seconds.
Kids are on vacation. Now what do I do with all that free time?