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Camp Relief

P8041676This past Saturday my husband I got to see our kids, after having very little contact with them for a month. They’re away at sleepaway camp for six weeks, and we were both anxious to know what was happening: if they’re having a good time, and if they want to go back. I won’t lie, this month without them has been blissful, and I would have been crushed if they’d told us they wanted to stay home next summer.

We’ve gotten sporadic letters and emails that practically shouted about how awesome camp was, and the pictures on the camp website said the same thing, but then we spoke to the kids on the phone, and it did not go all that well. So yeah, we wanted to see them on visiting day and try to figure out what our fate was for next summer.

Well, visiting day was awesome. When we got there we split up – I went to find Jake while my husband went to get Fiona. As I was walking to his cabin I saw him and yelled his name, and when he saw me he started barreling towards me so fast that I put my arms up defensively and yelled “Don’t knock me over!” He jumped on me and gave me the biggest hug ever, and for the next twenty minutes or so he was fighting tears. Poor kid is just like me: he wears his heart on his sleeve. I didn’t want him to be embarrassed in front of his friends, so I took him into his cabin and gave him a few minutes to get himself together.

We all met up in the sports center and while Fiona was obviously thrilled to see me, she was just purely happy – no tears. And they both said the same thing: they wanted to go back to camp for even longer next summer.

Thank. Goodness.

At one point when we were all walking together my husband took Jake aside and had a short conversation with him, and I was pretty sure I knew why: Jake likes to make me happy, and his dad wanted to make absolutely sure that he wasn’t just saying it all to please me. But no, even away from my smiling face, Jake assured him that he loved camp and wanted to come back.

It was all just such a huge relief. I’ve really loved this time without them. It will be nice to have them back, and I think this is about as long as I could stand to have them away, but really, it’s been great. And seeing them for a few hours was like a little infusion of kid happiness that will carry me through these last ten days without them.

But even in those few hours, I realized how much I’d gotten used to the complete absence of certain things. Bickering, for one. Logistics, for another. And when the kids wouldn’t stop wrestling with each other after lunch I had to stop myself from yelling. I was not going to ruin our little reunion.

I don’t have a ton of patience. I’m honestly not sure how I survived having toddlers. And having this time alone has showed me just how much of my energy is sucked up either dealing with their little conflicts, or actively ignoring them. My goal when they come back is to take things more in stride, or at least figure out how to actually ignore them when they’re getting on my nerves, and not just make it look like I am. I’ll only have to do it for 10.5 months, before my next break. Not that I’ll be counting or anything… :-)

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8 Responses to “Camp Relief”

  1. Nancy on August 7th, 2012 11:33 am
    1

    and for the second time today, I’ll say it: And you’re not even Jewish!! (sleepaway camps that aren’t specifically Christian, tend to be heavily populated with Jews!). But seriously – time away from the kids and with your spouse is ÇRUCIAL to a marriage. I hear, ya.

    Also- camp is the only place kids this age are allowed to hug their parents and cry with them, and give them all the love — all in front of other people, and not be embarrassed. Another reason to love it!

    Amy Reply:

    @Nancy: Ha! Yeah, when I was growing up, the only kids I knew who went to camp were in the CYO. I wanted to go to camp so much I tried going to CYO meetings with a friend, but I just couldn’t hack it – NOTHING was worth those mind-numbingly earnest sessions.

  2. OHmommy on August 7th, 2012 11:34 am
    2

    Wow! So glad to hear they are doing so well. My kids are small but begging to go to camp next year for 2 weeks. I think I might take them up on it. They LOVE camp.
    OHmommy recently posted..Latin music: "I like how it feels"My Profile

    Amy Reply:

    @OHmommy: I’m all for it, obviously. I mean, if they would have a tough time then it’s a harder call, but if they’re begging to go, do it!

  3. Suzanne on August 8th, 2012 5:08 pm
    3

    I wish there had been a sleep-away camp like that in No. CA when my kids were younger. It seems to be more of an east coast thing. Nevertheless, one of the many benefits of kids being at camp is that they can “be their own person” and truly become independent away from their parents, school, church – whatever! If you are enjoying these 6 weeks, just wait until they go off to college. I did not shed a tear and absolutely redecorated their room while they were away. Enjoy your next 10 days without them!
    Suzanne recently posted..And then I laughed so hard I (literally) peed my pants!My Profile

    Amy Reply:

    @Suzanne: I totally agree. As much as I like to think of myself as hands-off, I know that I jump in more than I should. I like that they had six weeks to figure some things out. I can’t wait to see if I notice any big changes when they get back.

  4. Denise Malloy on August 10th, 2012 11:36 am
    4

    Mine never went to camps like that – I think I would have enjoyed it (as much as them). But I can only imagine dropping them off at college in a few years. . . I think I’m going to like that too – just don’t tell them.

    Amy Reply:

    @Denise Malloy: Your secret is safe with me. :-)