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I’m a happy camper.

When our kids were younger, their summer activities were pieced together for the 10 weeks between school years – swim lessons, a week of baseball camp, a few weeks of gymnastics camp – whatever they were interested in that year. My husband and I had both gone to more traditional camps; some of my favorite childhood memories are from day camp, while my husband spent summers starting at age seven at sleepaway camp.

I thought our boys might be missing out, so we looked into a few day camps for them. At the time, a friend was working at the camp where his kids went. It wasn’t something that I’d considered doing before, but since I was teaching just one college class during the summers, and wondered how I’d fill nine hours a day while my kids were at camp, I decided to look into it. I thought that being an arts & crafts counselor would be something I could handle and might enjoy.

On a chilly April Saturday, we went and toured LakeView Day Camp. It had everything we were looking for, and by later that week, we’d enrolled the boys.

Unfortunately, this camp wasn’t looking for anyone on their arts & crafts staff. The camp director thought I might be a good fit for an open position for the camp office. I liked the idea of access to air conditioning all summer, and the director was right – even though I have some formidable glue gun skills, I was definitely more suited for an office job. We talked it over, I thought about it, and ultimately I decided that I’d give it a try. I’d just be along for the ride with my kids, and I figured I could do any job for just eight weeks.

camp

As I expected, the boys thrived at camp. They made new friends. They learned to swim better than they ever had. They learned that they loved activities they’d never tried — archery, zip lining, performing, lacrosse. It was even more than we hoped it would be.

But here’s what I never expected to happen -in my 40s, one of the oldest staff members at camp – I thrived too.

The job wasn’t always easy. The days were long, wrapped in a 45-minute commute on either end. Managing the needs of parents of the hundreds of campers could be complicated. Searching for the one staff member who left her car lights on in the staff parking lot was daunting. Getting through the piles of paperwork that came through the office each day was exhausting.

But at my age, even tucked away inside, sometimes seemingly far from the hustle and bustle of hundreds of campers and staff, I made new friends – ones I expect to be in my life for a long time.

I got to be myself. I could be silly and start a rubberband fight in the middle of the day. I could cry happy tears because I saw one of my kids having fun in the pool or singing in a show. I could give someone a hug just because it was the first time I’d seen them in a few days. I could dance just because I heard music. I could laugh until my stomach hurt.

I got to try new things; I’ve flipped on a bungee trampoline, driven a go-kart, gone down an inflatable water slide, and taken a ride on a fire truck. I got to wear shorts and a t-shirt to work, and dress up in goofy costumes on theme days.

So, it seems  I was not just along for the ride with my boys, but this was going to be my camp experience too.

Tomorrow starts our seventh summer at this wonderful camp. I’m still one of the oldest working there, but nobody else seems to mind. And because I’m around the energy of the rest of the staff, most days I don’t even notice. For eight weeks, I get to be a part of something magical – where kids (and adults) come to be who they really are, try new things, laugh and cry.

We have a motto at LakeView — “Live Camp, Love Camp.” We all do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finally!

We’ve belonged to our town pool for about 10 years.  We got a membership when Matthew was a toddler, and have renewed it every year, sometimes just because if you let your membership lapse, you’re required to get into a line at some ungodly hour of the morning on a day in April, without any guarantee that there will even be space available.

And after all these years, I realized today, that it took THIS long for the pool membership to pay off in terms of having any relaxation benefits for me.  With my kids at 8 and 12, they now have both the maturity and swim skills that I can turn my head and have a conversation for a few minutes without fearing that they will drown, or being distracted by “Mommy? Look at this! Mommy?! I have to go to the bathroom! I’m hungry! I’m cold!”  Now they can take themselves to the bathroom, let me know when their lips start turning blue, and saying no to the snack bar no longer puts me on the business end of an embarrassing tantrum.

pool

I put in a lot of years in the pool’s kiddie section (or what we all now call the pee-pee pool), praying that my kid would never be the one who shut it down by taking a dump in a foot of overchlorinated water.  I’ve scooped other people’s kids out of the water, pulled floating Hello Kitty bandaids out of my kids’ plastic buckets, and spent hours worrying that my kids would come down with some vile disease by swallowing pool water.

I now have two kids who can swim.  Lots of their friends belong to the pool, so if they haven’t brought a friend with them, there’s a good chance they’re going to find someone to hang out with.

Now if only there was someone to bring me a nice cocktail.

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Just let it go.

Last night, we took the boys and some friends to a professional soccer game.  There was lots of traffic trying to park, so Dave dropped me with all the boys by the stadium  and went to park the car (MY car, incidentally, which is larger than his, and takes some getting used to).  We went into the game, and shortly after that, Dave called to tell me he’d backed into a spot in the garage, and in the process, hit a concrete panel that was sticking out, and shattered the back windshield.

It was an accident.  I get it – accidents happen, and as long as I knew Dave was okay, and he’d had a garage employee help him put some plastic over the back and fill out some paperwork, it wasn’t that big a deal.

To me, anyway.

Dave met us in the stadium.  We looked on our phones and made an appointment to have someone meet me with the car and fix the windshield this week.  So, the broken windshield was covered, and we’d made arrangements to have it fixed.  Problem solved.

To me, anyway.

I’m going to chalk up what happened next to the difference in our gender.  Or the fact that Dave is the one who shattered the windshield and felt like he needed to do something about it.

He continued to hem and haw to figure out what we should do, which to me seemed silly to me, because as far as I was concerned, we HAD done what we should do.   Dave tried to figure out how we could cover up the windshield better (which, okay, is probably a good idea, since it might rain later).  Made sure I’d gotten the model year of my car correct (um, yup).  Called the windshield repair company back to confirm.  Thinks that maybe we should back my car into our garage tonight, in case it rains.  Which could be a good idea, except that we have a one-car garage that its overrun with about a thousand basketballs, bikes, and other miscellaneous outside crap.  So we’d have to leave the garage open, and I think there’s a fair chance we could do some more damage to the car trying to back it into a 1950s garage that wasn’t really designed for a 2000s SUV.  And this morning, I awoke to a plethora of notes about what we need to do.

Automobile windshield displaying "spiderw...

Automobile windshield displaying “spiderweb” cracking typical of laminated safety glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess what I’m really trying to do here is to get Dave to just put this aside and enjoy the rest of what this summer, seems like one in a series of very short weekends.  I’m ready to move on, knowing that we’ve taken steps to fix the problem.  So, I’ll get back to you, friends …. not sure if today will be a relaxing summer Sunday, or a day to fix a problem that in my mind is on its way to being fixed.  But at the end of the day, I’ll still be glad to have spent the day with my problem-fixing husband.

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