This summer, in an effort to keep us all sane and break up all the hours of togetherness, I signed up each child for one week of day camp. The four-year-old gets ballerina camp, the seven-year-old gets LEGO camp, and the nine-year-old gets some kind of sports-and-Jesus combo camp.
Last year, I made the mistake of signing up the kids for the same week, which left me driving all over town dropping off and picking up. This year, I was smarter and scheduled the kids for separate weeks, thereby extending the time all three of them are not under one roof together and leaving me with fewer pick ups and drop offs each day.
While I love all the mass quantities of togetherness that summer brings, I also believe in apart time, which assists my volatile children in not killing each other. Camp also allows me to get a smidge of work done in between trips in the minivan. And the kids love getting away and doing their own thing for a few hours. Everyone wins.
Except when camps don’t understand the point of themselves and make us be together some more. This week is the four-year-old’s turn, and the daily two-hour ballet camp has asked the parents to attend a one-hour recital and pizza party on the last day.
To be clear, that’s fifty percent of camp time today. Fifty percent of dance camp today is with me, and I can’t wait to see the look on the older kids’ faces when I tell them they get to drive to ballet camp, sit through a recital, and watch their younger sister eat pizza with her friends.
My two hours of camp has been cut in half, which barely gives me enough time to drive home, throw on a bra, and write this whiny blog post before I have to drive back. It’s camp! Camp means away time for everybody. Who doesn’t get this?
When I signed the nine-year-old up for sports-and-Jesus camp, I had this conversation with the guy on the phone (because I had to call because I don’t know how to work the internet):
Camp Guy: …and the last day of camp is family day.
Me: A what now?
Camp Guy: On the last day, we invite the families to join their campers and experience camp together.
Me: Oh. Okay, so what like for the last half hour?
Camp Guy: No, ma’am, you get to come for the whole day.
Me: The whole day.
Camp Guy: Yes, ma’am. You can bring the whole family and enjoy the day together.
Me: Well that sounds awesome.
Me, non-athlete, non-outdoor-person, allergic to sports and outdoors and outdoor sports, is supposed to schlep my two younger children around a field all day to enjoy my older child’s camp experience? So one-fifth of the camp I’m paying for is actually just more family togetherness, which we experience all day every day until the first day of school, not that I’m counting? That’s super.
Don’t make me go to camp with my kids. I’m begging you, Camp Authorities.
The official email says, “After hearing every evening about the fun time that your camper had that day, we know you will be itching to be a part of camp yourself.” Itching, it says. I’m pretty sure that’s with mosquito bites, not enthusiasm.
But we have to go to these things, right? Because we can’t leave our kids to be the only ones without family on family day.
I don’t want to go to camp. I want to provide camp for my kids, who think it’s wonderful, but I already did camp. I did the bug bites, itchy grass on my thighs sitting in a field, the kumbayas, the latrines, and the dining hall with sloppy joe and Texas sheet cake. Now I want to be home crossing things off a very long to-do list with the knowledge that for a few short hours, my kids are having a blast, making friends their own age, and probably talking about how lame I am.
Because I know I am, and I’m okay with it.
I just got back from the dance camp recital. I take it all back. Tiny ballerinas dancing around to “Let It Go.” I thought I could be strong. I thought I was ebola-level sick of that freaking song. But my snark wasn’t quite up to the onslaught of adorableness. I cracked. Look how cute:
I could watch this ballerina stuff her face with pizza all day long. I couldn’t quit smiling and clapping. Yay for camp and togetherness.
featured image from Woodticks on etsy.com