I sent the kids to camp this week. Overnight camp. Like 4 nights and 5 days overnight camp, and for the third year in a row. I caught my Sweetheart’s eye as Tall Girl and Sweetie Pie queued for the bus.
“Ripped right out.” I pointed at my heart. He nodded.
“I thought it should get easier, but it doesn’t. The logistics do. But this? No.”
Why do we do this every year? I mean they have the time of their lives and make all these friends and develop as great human beings. But is that all worth their parents’ grey hair? Or sleepless nights? Come on — who wouldn’t trade a week with a Slip ‘N Slide with a bunch of cranky preschoolers, for a giggle sleepover on an island on a bug-infested lake? I mean really.
Plus, we sent Art Girl to Taekwondo Daycamp, so I’m stuck at home auditioning next school year with the bottom three kids. This gives me an opportunity to try out my “Why you can’t watch anymore TV” arguments. Eventually, I know they will get bored of sitting on the couch staring at that black, matte rectangle, commanding it to light, and wander over to the kitchen table to take out their frustration on some playdough. Until then, between that and the heat, it’s going to be a long week.
Compound this with my Walk Guilt. As I wrote last time, I’ve been trying to get back into some kind of shape after being left floundering on the carpet with back pain. Tall Girl is now a certified babysitter, so this summer I’ve been taking the Baby in the stroller and leaving big sis in charge for 40 minutes. Which is great for about 10 minutes, until I start feeling like the World’s Worst Mother for leaving them. What if they are fighting? Speaking rudely? Just today, Big Boy demanded a pencil of me. No, “please”, “may I”, nothing. Is this what goes on when I’m not here? They revert to troglodyte cave kids? I’ll come home to grunts and people painting on the walls, eating raw meat. It hasn’t happened yet, but maybe I’ve just been lucky.
I had thought, that once the kids were older, I would start to take some time to “do some things for myself.” Except, I can’t seem to leave. They’re all fine, independent, moral human beings. But I’m a crazy woman. I just can’t go. I was thinking of whether I should get a job. I can now know that unless someone is prepared to pay me to run around after my own offspring, it’s probably a no go. Actually, it’s definitely a no go. I always figured that some kind of worldly success was hiding inside of myself, but when I actually looked, I found someone who was happy being a failure, if it means more time with her kids.
I know that one day the girls and boy will grow up and move on and leave. I’ll be sad/happy, but that’s part of life and that’s okay. But I can’t rush it and still be all okay with life. Come back soon from camp, girls. Your Mom wants to make sure you brushed your teeth.