When my kids were in grade school, planning for summer began in early March. As a working mom, that’s when I had to start looking into activities and camps to keep my kids busy – and hopefully happy – while my husband, Bob, and I were at work.
Calls went out to friends in town in similar situations. We would Google, search the Parent Paper, trade notes, offer suggestions and count the weeks before summer even started.
Most times, so long as one friend was also attending the same camp, it was enough to make our kids happy. When a bunch of friends would sign up, my mom pals and I would come up with some kind of complicated grid system we'd use to plan ride sharing. With each camp finale, us moms would give each other a “high five” to celebrate that we made it through yet another week.
Lucky for me, working from home offered me some camp options that commuting moms did not have. I still needed to keep them out of the house for most of the day so I could manage my job, conduct conference calls and meet deadlines -- without hiding in a closet.
When my kids were really young, they believed me when I said, “You’re going to LOVE it at the XYZ camp! It’s so much FUN!” As they got older though, they grew a little more suspicious when they heard those words of wisdom.
Looking back, some of the camps were “one and done" events, never to attend again. My kids got car sick on long bus rides, hated to swim in over-cholorinated pools, and were bored to tears on rainy days at outdoor sports camps.
Yes, my kids were serial campers. I felt like I won the lottery when both of them went off to the same camp. Car pooling became a whole lot easier when there was a car load of kids and a single drop off.
Most times than not though, there were baseball camps, basketball camps, soccer camps, and other sports camps for my son, while dance camps, gymnastic camps, cooking camps, and art camps kept my daughter busy. That made double car pooling a nightmare.
I still remember the baton twirling camp I sent my daughter to when she was five years old. I have to admit it wasn’t so much that she had even had the slighest interest in baton twirling, but it got my interest because it was conveniently offered by the Ridgewood Y for five weekday afternoons. It was also easy to get to, something else I had to consider when splitting up my lunch hour for drop off and pick up.
At five years old, I wondered what my little one could possibly do for three hours each day, but of course, I didn't say that out loud. At the end of the week, there was a performance for parents to show us just how flexible and nimble our little twirlers had gotten in a just a few short lessons.
My tiny twirler never did march in a parade, nor did she ever aspire to become a drum majorette -- do they even have them anymore in high school? For that matter, I don’t think she even picked up her baton after that camp; I found it still shiny and new last year while cleaning out our basement.
I wonder if my now 15 year old even remembers that camp and what she did there. I know I’ll never forget it, will always get a chuckle every time I think of it, and will never throw that baton away.
Happy Summer, campers – and good luck to all moms out there, too!
To read similar "slice of life" stories, go to www.amorejourney.com/blog