Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I mailed of registration forms for the kids' various summer camps yesterday (two weeks of half-day Nature Camp for E and Z, coinciding with one week of half day Old Fort Western Apprenticeship for M, followed by two weeks of full-day Nature Camp for M), wrote the dates in my calendar, added our still-hypothetical trip to Colorado, and realized, with a sensation not unlike swallowing an apple whole and getting it stuck behind my breastbone, that I had just scheduled away our entire summer.

As I began to ponder the logistics of shuttling said kids to their respective camps and daycare-based swimming lessons while trying to put in somewhat of a semblance of a full work week, keep up with the coursework for my writing class, get in a few hikes for Capital Walks and somehow, among it all, taking my car to the mechanic for a week-long rust abatement and general TLC and pre-trip work-up, the apple grew to the size of a mid-summer zucchini. Fu*******k!

How do I get myself into these messes? I truly try to not overschedule my kids--they have no music lessons, no foreign language classes, no summer sports activities. Just a nice simple low-key nature camp and a week living like Colonial Americans. Shouldn't that be simple?

Here's what I wanted to do this summer, a list I'd started to put together in my head a couple of weeks ago, but hadn't committed to paper yet:
*Go to the beach
*Make knight costumes
*Go to the beach
*Hang out in my hammock
*Go to the beach
*Go to the lake
*Learn to embroider (like Tiny Happy)
*Go to the beach
*Read lots of books--with my kids and by myself

I think there were more items on my mental list, but they seem to have been sucked away into the vast black hole with the rest of my thoughts.

Of course all of this is voluntary (as are most of my mental crisese, those not related to weather or climate or the impending doom the Earth faces). I can make choices. I can get C involved in camp shuttling (during the month he claims is going to be crazily busy). I can changes M's Nature Camp registration to the one-week session, giving myself a two-week break and an opportunity to get my car dealt with. I can plan a different mode of travel to Colorado, so that my car can hang out with all its buddies at the Volvo place the whole time we're gone. I can shorten our trip, or (C's preferred option) move it to a different time of year. Or I can continue on my current stress-inducing demolition course of craziness. What would you do?


  1. I don't know. I schedule activities in the summer mainly to keep the kids from having their summer frittered away in front of the TV while I read books and work on the computer - activities don't let me do that. Beach was my number one priority for the summer, too, but that appendectomy has definitely kept us closer to home! Paz.

  2. I so understand. I looked at the calendar today and realized I couldn't find a spare block of four days in which to schedule backpacking. FOUR DAYS! I work very hard not to over-schedule too, but it just creeps up on you when everything you ARE signing up for seems so wholesome and worthwhile. As far as what you should do? I'm not sure...but we do try to schedule family vacations at other times of the year, so I like that suggestion. We find things are less crowded and less expensive, my husband has an easier time getting off work, and we enjoy the special family time: it feels stolen when it's not in summer! We have even been known to take kids out of school...something I never regret in the long run.

  3. i just stumbled across your blog and love the premise! motherhood IS messy. motherhood IS hard. and i am just beginning! i have lessons to learn from you about how to ensure enjoyable summers for my little guy. thanks for sharing. joni :)

  4. Hi Andrea. Still lovin' your blog. It's winter holidays here and all 3 boys are in half-day holiday-care (at the same school) so not much change. I do wonder, though, what we will do when they start real school. I just finished listening to Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers (audio version) where he makes a good argument for a much shorter summer vacation. What DO working parents do for 2 two months every year? What if parents can't afford camps? It's a big problem here as so many parents can't afford care for their kids and can't afford to take time off work.

    On a brighter note, nature camp sounds great!


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