The Day Camp Experience

It’s Monday morning, and thank the good Lord in heaven I don’t have to go anywhere today. When Ruthie starts school full time I’m screwed, because the one thing about motherhood that agrees with me is the part about not having to be anywhere in particular. Ruthie was in day camp last week, and by the time my alarm went off on Thursday I was so DONE with the morning rush and just wanted to sit in my p.j.’s with my coffee while the kids took turns playing in the toilet.

I’ve definitely grown accustomed to the leisurely morning. I hate showering right after waking up because it signals the beginning of productivity. Showering also means I have to then do something with my face and my hair and put on actual clothes, and that really takes the leisure out of the morning.

But it was a good trial run, because now I know the clock is ticking on my lazy ass days. From now on I will be taking full advantage.

I really thought Ruthie would talk unendingly about her days in “school” – which is what we had to start calling it because she kept confusing ‘day camp’ with the fact that we are going ‘camping’ next week – but she never really said a thing. The most I got out of her was when she started walking around on all fours meowing like a cat, and when I asked her if she learned to walk like a cat in school she said … yup. And that was pretty much the extent of it.

I found myself falling into my old peer pressure ways, too, checking myself out in the mirror before we left to make sure I would impress the other moms. I hated the one morning when I went to the gym after dropping her off because, as great as some people might look in work-out wear, I am not that impressive. I actually considered, for one brief moment, the benefits of dressing up to drop her off then running home to change into my gym clothes.

I know. Gross! For the love of Pete, I’m 34 years old and worried about looking cool to the other moms! But it’s true, I did struggle with that. Honestly, though, I think it was a fleeting issue, and mostly because I’m so used to my comfort zone of friends and Safeway check-out girls that I experienced a little culture shock of the world beyond my toddlers.

I did manage to get past my own silly issues long enough to have A Moment. It was a moment of pride, of overwhelming love, of anticipating new chapters: my little girl is growing up. She is tall, and runs fast, and thinks for herself, and makes decisions, and walks into a classroom to engage in learning.

I have been in denial of the impending school years because for now she is all mine, and I’m selfish like that. I love her painfully, and I’m all she ever really wants, and I know someday that will change. And as dysfunctional as I can be, at least right now I’m the only one fucking her up. Her mess is my mess, and we can work through that together. But one day girls will be mean, or a boy will dump her, or a close friend will die, and her mess will be so much more complicated.

I fear she won’t need me anymore. Or that what I have to offer will no longer be comforting. Or that I won’t know what to do.

Good grief. After four mornings of day camp I need co-dependency therapy.

2 thoughts on “The Day Camp Experience”

  1. Don’t worry about the not talking about school…When Eli was in preschool for half the school year and when he got of the school bus, I would ask him questions like “how was your day, what did you do, did you have music…etc” his response almost always would be “I don’t want to talk about it right now” I think he needed time to unwind before telling us about his day. And even then, he didn’t always tell us about his day. I am hoping this upcoming year, when he is in Kindergarten, things will be different, but I doubt it.

  2. Oh Sob * Sob * Sob…. Ok sorry you hit a nerve there.

    I got the same stuff out of Mel when she was in the big Daycare. But they usually had a topic and a schedule for the day so I learned to ask her basic questions from off of that and she soon opened up. Usually she was like “Wow mommy knows about turtles too!!!” or “Yeah mommy knows that song!” She would light up if I appeared to know about what they talked about first.

    Yes! I am the all knowing mommy! Hehe…

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