Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I believe my son takes after me in that he considers large animals "smelly" and "not worth it." Still, with his dad's encouragement, he is now signed up -- along with his sister, who is stoked -- for a week of riding lessons from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., aka Horse Camp.
Like many families with working parents, our summer is all about "camps." Somehow, my children -- who hail from an undistinguished line of immigrants -- will be spending the next eight weeks in tennis lessons, swimming lessons, and English riding lessons, when they are not receiving combat training and spiritual instruction at the local dojo.
"I feel like the freaking Kennedy Compound," I said to a work friend, staggering out of my office after the latest camp confirmation email. "When I was a kid, I watched The Brady Bunch all summer. That was it."
Though it has cost a small -- okay, a large -- fortune to have my kids in childcare their entire lives, they seem none the worse for it. They make friends easily with whatever playmates show up, and are trained in the niceties of taking turns, sharing, and fair play.
Once, when my son was seven, he was chatting with a new acquaintance (age six) at the park. The boy explained that he couldn't hang from the monkey bars, because his arm recently had been in a cast.
"Sorry to hear that," said my son, and the conversation moved on.
This answer was so socially perfect, I doubt I could have pulled it off. (Me, age 40: "Oh? How did you break it? . . . Wow. You really shouldn't have been doing that! . . . Sorry.")
The difference between us makes sense, as growing up I was -- by both circumstance and preference -- a shut-in, whose idea of a big time at age seven was going across the street to my friend Michelle's house. She had a playhouse in her backyard, and we used to pretend The Queen was coming and clean the house. That was the game: cleaning. Pretty soon, I'd be like: "It doesn't look like she's coming. I'm going to go home and watch TV."
(The Queen is still not coming, by the way. This fact has saved me a lot of time and effort.)
But tomorrow, we're off on a family vacation to New Mexico, so all the camps will have to wait. Or, if the kids prefer, we'll give it a camp name:
Camp Underpants in the Desert
Camp Don't Teach Your Cousin to Say "Poop Jet" Because, Like You Two Clowns, She Will Never Stop Saying It
Camp Go Bother Nana, For She Has Missed You So
Camp Get the Heck Out of Camp, Because We Really Don't Need to Learn Anything This Week
Finally, a camp I'm qualified to lead.
Let's do it.