It was a monumental day for me. For the first time ever, I signed up my kids for day camp. That kind of activity used to be relegated to my sister only who has a steady gig working for the public defender’s office.
That role used to be for those moms at school that I only saw in dashes and blurs as they dropped their kids off in power suits and designer jeans with blazers before rushing off to the office, studio or friends at school who were working girls. Not normal moms like my friends and me. Not us – the coupon cutting rebels who’d spend our summers packing four kids into dirty SUVs, careening around curvy mountain roads on half tanks of gas for a glorious day at the beach.
No Starbucks and drive through crappy meals for our kind. Dollar Mickey D coffees for the mamas and some gluten free packed sandwiches for the kids. If we forgot the lunches, no worries! Some other mama from our tribe, already at the beach with a blanket spread and story ready, would surely share some extra vittles with a fellow sojourner on the journey of Mama Summer Camp.
But this year, it was me who lurched into a parking lot, spent after a long day at the office. It was me, not some other mom, who breathlessly ran into a camp office and dropped almost $400 to give my kids a summer camp experience next week so I can get to and fro work without the hassle of play date coordination.
Do I miss the days of staying home with my kids over the summer? You betcha.
Do I take for granted that there are plenty of other mamas not as lucky a me – moms that work for less pay than I do – who don’t have such luxuries as summer camp at the local park? Not for a second.
This is going to be a different kind of summer. And while my kids’ experience at the local park and rec is a far cry from fancy camp of alternate suburbs, it’s new for them. Firsts making the iconic Godhead crafts from popsicle sticks. Firsts making personalized dream weavers or frantically completing rainbow looms while waiting for Mom or Dad to pick them up in the mess hall. Firsts lining up for camp songs. Firsts for weekly talent shows. Firsts for long swims in overly chlorinated pools. Firsts for tight knit friendships that can only be made from first day jitters standing in line for Lemon Heads next to a kid in the same colored group shirt as them. Instant war buddies. Instant connection. For that, I’m so thrilled.
And just a wee bit nervous.
As I turned in the registration form today, I had to play that mental game with myself: “Do I tell the counselor my kid has T.S.? Do I let him advocate for himself? What if I say nothing, but he has bad eyerolls. Will they think he’s having a seizure at the water sly? If I do say something, am I being that defensive mom who is putting my kid on the radar unnecessarily?”
What would you have done?
Come back Thursday and I’ll fill you in on my decision.
Meanwhile, I leave you with this photo of our pit bull and the kids. After much deliberation, we did end up telling our dog that Stink has T.S.. As you can see, she was very concerned.