Summer break is on our heels. With only two weeks left of school, it looms over my head like a hawk scoping out its prey. Summer break means summer camp. Summer camp means weekly dues. The schedule doesn’t stop like it used to when I was young. Mom (me) still has to make lunches every day. Kid (Maycee) still has to wake up at 7:30 A.M. and get ready to be gone 9 hours, Monday through Friday. The only difference between school and camp is that there is no homework, and I have to pay for it.
We’ve accepted the pace of our life. Maycee used to complain. She used to point out that most of her friends didn’t have to go to camp. I used to point out that their moms got to stay home or they had aunts and uncles, grandparents or siblings to watch them. She used to say things like, “It’s not fair! I don’t ever get a break or get to sleep in and watch cartoons!” I used to get mad and tell her, “Well, life isn’t fair!” Now I don’t. We don’t say these things anymore. We don’t complain about the state of our union as single mom and daughter. We don’t point out the inevitable and wish it were different. We’ve accepted the pace of our life as it is, and after several years, it’s okay.
Now we know what to expect for camp. Maycee knows where she will be going, and we sign up well in advance so we can anticipate the fun weeks planned, the visitors who will come and bring animals or do dances or show the kids how to garden or build things. Instead of being angry, I say things like, “Gee, I wish I could go!” And, Maycee responds, “I know, right?!”
We plan two weeks out of the summer during the beginning and end that she will visit Grandma in sunny So. Cal. They set up a pool in the backyard and leave it up all week to splash around in, and do crafts, play Barbies, and sometimes go to the movies or shopping. And, we usually plan for a mini-vacation just the two of us…
Last year was the best because I saved enough moola to rent a trailer for camping and take us to a water park. It was perfect weather, and my best friend and her kids even met up with us for the day!
With two weeks pending until summer break I’ve been fretting, hemming and hawing about not having the money for a trip this year. I’ve been stewing in those single mommy “less-than” emotions…the “why didn’t I’s” or “I should have’s” or “if only’s”.
“We’re going camping again, right?”
“Ummm, well, I’m not sure, honey. Maybe not his summer.”
“Oh. (Pondering…) Well, we can just camp in a tent! We don’t need a trailer.”
“We’ll see. Not sure what I can afford this time.”
Ugh. These constant admissions of no-can-do wear me down.
Last night, we were driving home from an errand after school, and the subject of having a vacation came up again.
“Who needs to go anywhere, anyways, Mom?! I mean, we have horses to ride! We live in a pretty place! We have a nice house. We have EVERYTHING!”
Driving, trying to focus, I looked in the rear view mirror back at my effervescent girl. Her eyes bright and lit with joy, she convinced me of these inherent truths.
“Why, yes, we do!” I confirmed.
Smiling, I dropped the rock and decided to take a view through my daughter’s kid-colored glasses.
WHAT A SIGHT.
Summer is indeed coming, Readers! Whether you have grand plans for Disney World or grand plans for the best staycation ever, if you’re feeling overwhelmed I suggest you take a moment to see the sights through your child’s eyes. I just bet a weight will be lifted, and you will give a chuckle as you wonder how you missed the beauty before.