So what’s missing today?

My kids. My kids are at camp. My husband and I dropped them off yesterday in Pennsylvania for six weeks of sleepaway camp. They went for a week last year and loved it, and wanted to leave their day camps behind for campfires, bunk beds, musicals, dirt bikes, lake swimming, zip lines, and easy access to canteen snacks (twice a day!) without their parents standing over them telling them to eat some fruit instead. I don’t blame them one bit.

This has caused a change in my life of epic proportions. I’ve had time without the kids before – The Ass takes them on a pilgrimage to Florida twice a year to see his parents for five or six days at a time – but this is so different from that. If they go away for five days, I spend the first getting them to the airport and the last picking them up, so really I just get three days. And while a lot of people would give their right arm for three kid-free days, I’m not ashamed to admit that’s not enough for me.

It goes without saying that I love my kids. But you’re almost required to stress that fact when followed by this one: I’m thrilled to pieces to have six weeks away from them.

And as a bonus, unlike when they go to Florida, I get to have my husband here with me! (He works long hours; we won’t be together enough to get sick of each other.) We can go on dates without spending a fortune on babysitters. We can cook whatever we want for dinner without worrying about picky palates (well, OK, I’m still picky, but nothing like Jake). We can go for bike rides together. We can take off for the weekend on a moment’s notice. We can…act like we did before we had kids.

I don’t think there was a Sunday when we got out of bed before noon back then. We saw movies. We met other people out for long dinners. We went on trips. There was half as much laundry and fewer dishes. Dannimals appeared on our shopping lists not at all.

I was not a regular summer-camp goer, but it’s not because my parents didn’t need the break. They just couldn’t afford it. They did, however, have my grandmother living nearby, who was retired and never got tired of keeping us overnight. My husband and I don’t have that. The closest grandparent is 400 miles away and still works full-time.

Wanting a break is OK. I know that by the time we get to the end of the six weeks I’ll be dying to see them again, and hopefully they’ll be ready to come home. But I’m going to savor this extended time without them. It’s a feeling I haven’t had for almost eleven years.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.


    • says

      @OHmommy: We’ll be able to soon. The camp takes hundreds of pictures each day, but it takes 2-3 days for them to be uploaded and put up on the site (the pictures uploaded this morning are from the 6th – I’d looked through about 200 before I realized that!). They went for a week last year, and I loved combing through the pictures looking for signs that they were having a good time.

      • says

        @Amy: We always have a “secret” hand signal they flash in photos so I know exactly how they are feeling on that day. Two thumbs up, one. Peace sign. Heart sign. Etc.

        Maybe we will try two weeks next year. My daughter started attending sleepaway camp at the age of seven and BEGGED to go longer then one week.

  1. says

    My 8 year old son is dying to go to sleepaway camp. I won’t let him yet because I don’t think I can handle it! Six weeks is way longer than I can even imagine right now! I can see how it would be joyous but I’m not quite there yet. Maybe you should use some of that time to come visit me!

    • says

      @IlinaP: We tried it last year for a week. Honestly, Fiona would’ve been ready when she was five. It was Jake (three years older) who resisted. Every kid is so different. But I knew that he’d like it so we gave him a big push, and luckily, we were right.

  2. says

    You are lucky. My spouse and I would not last 6 weeks.
    I would rather he go to sleep away camp (if there were one with a paycheck)!
    Thats 20 years of marriage for you.

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