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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.
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