Wow – it’s been three months since I’ve last posted. A lot has been going on in my life – both good and bad. But it seems that at the moment, the seas are calm and I can get back on track with my blogging……….for now.
Well, it’s summer. School is out, the 5:30 AM alarm clock is on hiatus, and the stress of lesson plans and grading papers is turned off for a while. Baseball games and homework have disappeared. And now camp has begun…….oh, wait – strike that last part. We are the rare breed of non-summer camp attendees. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s a good thing.
When I was a kid in the 70’s and 80’s the only kids that went to camp were those who lived in the uncommon households with two parents who worked full-time. Up until I was in high school, my mom stayed home with her four kids. Our summers consisted of a couple weeks of morning swimming lessons, a mid-summer trip somewhere, and going to the library, playing in the yard, board games, visiting my grandparents, and maybe an occasional trip to McDonalds for lunch. Neighbor kids were always around for fun.
I wish my kids’ summers could be like mine were. But times have just changed so much. As I sit here at my computer, I look out the window, and there’s not one kid in sight. The neighborhood is quiet, it’s a cloudy day (not too good for the pool). In the next room, I hear the voices of Patrick and SpongeBob and I can hear Michael hanging out in the kitchen waiting for someone to come along and unlock the pantry so he can go to town. It’s days like this that are tough. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. All the places like the bowling alley, museums, and fun zones are overrun with camps until about 3 PM. Oh, and let’s also not forget that those places aren’t exactly free AND that Michael couldn’t care less about going ANYWHERE like that……unless there’s unlimited food to eat. (The last time we went bowling, the only thing he cared about were the Nerds in the claw machine and the basket of french fries on the table.) The library is always a great place………..but taking Michael somewhere with a “be quiet” policy is not too fun. That’s what makes it toughest of all. When you have a child that doesn’t interact or have the same kinds of interests as other kids his age, summers are difficult. On days like this when I was a kid, I had three siblings with which to dream up things to do. My heart really goes out to Christopher because I watch him wander the house with that indifferent look on his face, (ironically as I write this, I heard him say “There’s nothing to do today”), and head back to his playroom to play his Wii……alone. Most of his friends are in camp or have left on their vacations.
Every summer I mentally go through this. And every summer I think “Next year, we’ll plan better and these kids will go to a few weeks of camp”. And every summer they don’t. Frankly, being a teacher, there’s no reason……….logically or financially……… for them to go to daycamp if I am home. But at the same time, I know plenty of stay-at-home moms who send their kids to camp. I don’t know what the right answer is. I never went to camp and I think I turned out OK. I guess as an adult, I look at summer as a time for rest and relaxation. But two little boys in my house have a very different view of things. One would prefer to be doing a new activity every day, while the other is probably wondering when school is going to start again so he can get back to his routine.
June is always the toughest month because summer school hasn’t started for Michael yet, and there’s not much planned. Next week, Christopher goes to full-day baseball camp, we’ll have family here in July for a visit and once Michael is summer school, Christopher and I can do some other things he likes.
Christopher is counting down the days until his cousins are here. I’m counting it down too………there’s nothing like seeing your kids enjoy the summer. It’s just hard on these do-nothing days (GO AWAY CLOUDS!)……..but a do-nothing day is pretty nice compared to the do-too-much days which will be back before we know it.