Monday, July 7, 2014

Mommy Mondays: My Summer "Vacation"

Today was Jack's first day of swim camp. I signed him up back in January, when I knew John would be gone for seven weeks and I'd be alone with two small kids all day, every day, with no help. At the time, two weeks of full-time camp sounded absolutely brilliant. I'd be able to get in some one-on-one time with Will, and Jack would learn to swim. But as the first day approached, I started to get nervous. Jack's never done anything like this before. Eight hours is a long day, especially for a kid who's barely been to preschool. How would he do? And how, for that matter, would I do?

Dropping Jack off was surprisingly difficult. I cherish my time away from my kids, because it's rare and I need that "me time" to feel like myself. Since last October, I've spent almost every single day with Jack, and adding Will to the equation has made it significantly harder to get time alone. Any time I do get to myself is usually limited to two or three hours anyway, so it's not like I have that much opportunity to miss them. But today was different. First of all, I left Jack in a somewhat chaotic situation. There are multiple camps at YMCA and everyone gets dropped off together. Jack, being fairly brave, seemed unfazed. The first thing he said to the woman checking him in was, "Do you have a diving board here?" As if Jack knows the first thing about diving, let alone swimming. But then he was led off by a girl whose name I didn't catch, looking terribly small in his backpack, and I started to worry. What if he didn't like swimming? What if he got lost in the shuffle? What if he started flapping his arms and roaring like a dragon and people thought he wasn't quite right in the head? I called out goodbye, and he turned back for a moment, shouted, "See you later, Alligator," and before I could respond with, "After a while, Crocodile," he was gone.

I walked back to the car with Will and saw Jack being escorted through the parking lot to where all the campers were gathering, big and small. Jack stood on the outskirts of the circle while the counselors led the campers in a round of "Boom Chicka Boom" (on a side note, how is that still around? I used to do that at camp nearly three decades ago!). For a while Jack just watched, but I could tell from his body language that he was getting frustrated. He was leaning forward and waving his arms like a mad chicken, something he does when he's angry or excited. A counselor walked over to him, took him to another part of the circle, and walked away. I probably would have sat there all day watching him like a stalker if someone hadn't been waiting for my parking spot.

Look how small he is!

I almost cried as I drove away, but I managed to suck the tears back in and head off to the grocery store. The day loomed ahead of me, long and free. What would I do with eight whole hours to myself?

As it turns out, everything I normally do. I shopped, Skyped with John, worked out, had lunch, showered, did laundry, caught up on email, attempted to write, prepped for dinner, and in between all that took care of Will (I guess I'd forgotten that you aren't exactly "free" when you have an infant. Whoops.).

My new writing buddy.

At 5:00 I went back to get Jack. I was afraid he'd be bedraggled or upset, but he was surprisingly alert and happy. Apparently everything went fine (aside from the fact that a kid in a yellow shirt was mean to him, his lunch got mixed up with someone else's, and his flip-flops and sunscreen are missing. Oh, and he didn't pee for eight hours.).

I learned a few things today. First, that Jack is going to be just fine at camp for the next two weeks. Second, that I won't be nearly as productive without his company as I'd hoped. And third, that I'd better label every single thing I send him to camp with, down to his juice box (some other kid's High C ended up in Jack's lunch bag, although he assures me he got his Honest Kids lemonade).

As for Jack? Swimming went great and he learned the words to "Boom Chicka Boom." I think tomorrow's going to be even better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reading this made me get more teary than I did leaving you, Sarah, and Aaron off at preschool. I hope the next two weeks go well for him. It is a big step for a little guy. Mom