Childhood Summers

When Story started kindergarten, I did a happy dance —  primarily because I could say goodbye to the exorbitant daycare fees that devoured my pocketbook each month. We’ve lived a happy, free-childcare existence for the past eight months. And then suddenly it dawned on me. School is coming to an end. Summer! What do parents do with their children during summer? I hadn’t had to think about this before. Story was always in daycare, year-round. I scrambled to seek the wisdom of my in-the-know mom friends.

I found out that summer camps were the place to be, and there are numerous camps offered in our area. This is both great and awful. Great because there is a wide variety of choice and something for everyone. Is your kid interested in sports? No problem. We’ve got every sport covered. Drama? Science? Technology? Art? There’s a camp for just about every interest imaginable. Awful because deciding what camp to choose for a kindergartner who is interested in everything is panic-inducing. And then you add in the option of participating in several camps, a week here, a week there. You can design a summer that is sure to entertain your child for the whole of the season.

When I think back to my childhood summers, I can still recall that ball of M9JT8O48O0excitement in my stomach during the last week of school. Summer meant freedom — freedom from routine, freedom to sleep in, freedom to explore, freedom from shoes and the good clothes that you couldn’t get dirty. Unfortunately, Story has no idea what that is. Like I said, her summers were spent in daycare. When I asked her if she was ready for summer, she shrugged. When I told her that school is coming to an end, she was confused. This poor child has no idea what summer means!

And I’m afraid she never will.

I work. I can’t keep her home with me for the summer. So what am I to do? Summer camp seems to be the only option. Don’t misunderstand me; there are some really great camps, and I’m sure she will learn a lot and have fun. She loves to be busy and socialize. Her calendar would be filled morning to night every day if she had her way. But it feels like I’m denying her an important experience.

So we’re going to conduct an experiment this year. She is going to attend camp at Girls Inc. (see A Day of Service) for the summer but will have weeks at home scattered throughout. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home, so this is possible, though not ideal. We’ll just have to try it. She isn’t great at being on her own, entertainment wise. I very well may come to regret this decision. But I think it’s worth the trial.

I know she will learn a lot about the world at Girls Inc., but I think she will learn a lot about herself at home.