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Sunday, July 31, 2016

What I Really Learned While My Kids Were at Overnight Camp

On Friday, I had my second piece published on Kveller.com, "5 Things I Was Able To Do While My Kids Were at Sleepaway Camp." (Please click over, read, comment, share. Thanks.) It's a perfect little piece for the site where it's published; Marc's response upon reading it is that I've gotten better at writing pieces for the purpose of selling them elsewhere. A worthy blogging goal if there ever was one, since I don't make any money off of Busy Since Birth.

However, there was one idea I'd told him I'd been mulling over, which didn't make it into the piece. And that idea maybe isn't as revolutionary or sellable, although maybe it is. Are you ready?

It's that I actually *like* doing things with my 12yo and 8yo kids. Shocking, right?

But here's the thing. When they were smaller, not so very long ago, we savored every break we got from our children. The exhaustion and relentlessness of life with small children is a lot. Most days are overwhelming. Most HOURS are overwhelming. Breaks are very, very good. But now?

Well, the kids are fairly self-sufficient at these ages. Sure, they still need us, but the physicality of it all has decreased. Beyond that, they're really good company. I love hearing their opinions and including them in discussions of complicated topics. If we're going to a concert or a museum, I want to bring them along and share it with them. If I'm talking with friends, they can usually entertain themselves long enough so I can finish a conversation. They still need me, but not in the same ways, and I know, all too soon, not for much longer. Which makes it even harder to let them go to camp.

(You wouldn't blame me for telling Hannah she could come home for the second half of the summer. I couldn't help asking. At least she was polite when she firmly told me, "no, not happening.")

So I settled for bringing home just Max at the halfway point. On the ride home, he shared new thoughts on racism and sexism, and wondered why there are so many chemicals in chocolate milk. He sang us a new melody for "Modeh Ani" and a bunch of other songs he learned. He asked if he can apply to be a counselor in training some day (Kerem 2024!).

So yes, I was able to get some things done while my kids were away, and have a little fun too. But it definitely wasn't more fun than I have when my kids are joining along.

Eighteen more days til she gets home.

Camp Yavneh Sibling Photo July 2016

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