What did parents do during summertime before day camps? Heather wonders as she loads backpacks, sunscreen, hats, towels, the diaper bag, bathing suits and water bottles into the back of her SUV. Her idea of getting a Prius seems ridiculous now. There wouldn’t be enough room for all of the summer gear. There goes the environment, she thinks. She slams the trunk, probably waking the still sleeping neighbors.
Why can’t she relax? School is out. The sun is shining. Birds are chirping. Perfect temperatures with a slight breeze on her freshly shaved legs. She should be poolside with a tall drink in hand. Or at the beach with a book. But no. She’s spending the day driving in opposite directions to two drop-offs, a swim lesson for Ava and then pick-ups at day camps. What happened to one simple sport’s camp or the YMCA? When she was little, she was happy to go to a Camp Chick-A-Poo for a week. These kids have a different activity almost every day. Forget summer vacation, a week at a lake house, a trip up north. That budget has been spent on day camps.
“Time for camp,” she calls as she walks into the house.
Kaitlin runs downstairs dressed in a long white apron and chef’s hat. Cooking camp, Heather remembers. She’ll need to buy a wok today.
“Will you teach me a new recipe when you get home?” Heather asks, thinking that she’s tired of cooking the same five things for dinner every week.
Maybe Heather should start a “Do Your Own Laundry Camp” or “Let’s Wash The Dishes!” camp. That might help make the summer more enjoyable for mothers.
Dylan walks slowly down the stairs. “I don’t want to go to Claymation Camp today,” he says.
“Are you sick?’ she asks.
“No,” he says.
“Then you’re going,” she says. The tuition is non-refundable.
Heather loads everyone and the remaining gear into the car and drives toward the first drop off across town. There’s a day camp for everything. Macramé camp, Apple camp, Foley sound effects camp, Architecture camp, Marine Biology camp. Subjects they didn’t offer in college are now available for six- year olds to explore. And – her children want to take them all! The only ones they aren’t interested in are about academics or religion. What kind of kids are she raising?
Traffic slows. Her SUV allows her to see that there’s a light out ahead. A man in an orange vest is directing cars one by one through the intersection. There’s a long line to cross and she’s stuck between two cars. “Sorry, Kaitlin,” she says. “It looks like we may be a little late to the Culinary Institute,” Heather says and looks in her rearview mirror.
“Don’t worry, mom,” Kaitlin says with a wide smile. She’s missing her two front teeth. She looks adorable in her tall white hat.
Dylan plays peek-a-boo and makes Ava giggle. Heather rolls down the window, turns on the music and slips on her favorite sunglasses. The children are laughing in the backseat. Suddenly, it seems like it’s going be a pretty great summer after all.
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a completely fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or families