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July 16, 2011

4

won’t cut the cord

by diaperbaggage

if opposites really do attract, then gil and i will be married for the next thousand life times.

we couldn’t be more different. he is conservative, traditional, and extremely private. i am wildly liberal, believe most traditions need to be replaced, and think living your life as secretive as batman makes for a very boring conversationalist.

there is no topic we have yet to disagree on more than how to raise our kids. i’m in a unique situation because i had stepkids before having my own which is sort of a cheat sheet for parenting. most step-parents have little decision making powers so i just listened and watched and took mental notes every time my husband made a parenting decision i didn’t agree with. i have a whole drawer  in my brain so jammed it can hardly close with notes entitled “he’s never doing it that way when we have kids”.

problem is he stands by his decisions and sees no fault in them. but he’s quietly stubborn and i’m loudly bitchy which means he’ll have to give in if he ever wants peace around here. and besides, i have the wild card i get to throw in when i’m fighting for public instead of private school, organic food instead of mac n cheese, and tap dancing instead of lacrosse:

“You got to do it your way three times already! I get to decide for these two!”

they’ll be one in four weeks (hallefreakinlujah) and i’ve already started an argument that we won’t be up against for ten years.

SUMMER CAMP. hell no. not ever.

my stepsons left for their first summer of camp two weeks ago. they won’t be back till mid august. they are eleven. the first week we got letters from them detailing the new skills they are learning, what activities they have been keeping busy with and how much they are loving the camp experience.

then this past week gil gets a sad phone call from one of his little boys wanting to come home at the half way point. he told him every camper goes through this and once he gets past the homesickness he will make friendships that will last a lifetime and how he’ll be a stronger person for having stuck it out and yada yada yada. what he is saying has proven true for several members of our family. our nephew went to camp for eight summers, was terribly homesick at first but his parents insisted he stick it out and he has grown into one of the most committed, responsible, and successful young men we know. my stepdaughter also had a very difficult time adjusting her first summer but now sobs every year on the way home and keeps in touch with her camp friends all throughout the school year. while i understand all this i still say ‘let the poor kid come home!’  he’s sweating his ass off in the middle of the woods with no electricity, no internet, and access to a phone only once a week. i’ve never been to camp, but they sure sound more like concentration camps than the home away from home camper alumni make them out to be. the thought of my little youtube-less skid laying his tear streaked face down on his pillow made of bark at night and not even being able to call home makes my stomach sick. i say commend the kid for lasting this long, which is longer than i ever would, and bring his mosquito eaten body back to civilization.

another problem i see with this whole camp thing is that the only way to communicate with the campers is through letters which i’m learning are impossible to write. i was in the middle of typing them a one-way-email when my husband slammed the computer screen down on my hands to stop me.  i was  in the middle of telling them how much we were all missing them during our vacation at the jersey shore last week. how their cousins all say hello etc etc. apparently you are not supposed to tell new campers anything about your summer. you have to write as if you haven’t left your couch since they have been away because hearing about what their family is doing without them could make them homesick. understandable, but then what are you supposed to write? its pointless to even ask them questions about their day because they can’t reply to our emails and once their hand written letters full of answers finally arrive it’s been so long that i’ve forgotten all my questions. i’m terribly afraid of writing anything that could trigger homesickness, so after a few drafts of something along these lines:
 ‘Hi honey, I hope you are having the time of your life at camp! The rest of us are just sitting on the sofa with our thumbs up our asses until you return’  i decided to stop writing letters and start sending them pictures of their baby brothers instead.

in an attempt to persuade me to agree our sons will be future campers, gil keeps trying to put a positive twist on the whole thing. he keeps reminding me what an incredible experience camp has been for his daughter and for his nephews, how life changing and character building it is. he even suggested a compromise that when the time comes i should go to camp with them as a counselor   so they get to go to camp and i still get to spend the summer with them. i can’t imagine what in the seven years of knowing me could have led him to believe that i would ever spend the summer at a camp site. i told him there was no way i was suffering through that and there was no way i was suffering without them for a summer. he asked if i was really that selfish that i would deny them of the experience because i refuse to go and i refuse to let them go without me.

“Absolutely”.

his family insists by the time our boys are eleven i will be counting the days till i send them off to camp. not likely. i’ve already cried myself to sleep twice thinking of the day they will move out for college and they aren’t even one yet. i am an italian mother of sons. my husband better get a court order and a bodyguard if he thinks he’s ever sending my sons away from me for six weeks.

so honey, how about you agree to send this camp fantasy off into The Land of Never Gonna Happen and end this issue today so it’s one less thing we need to fight about in 2021.

Read more from the wife
4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Marca
    Jul 17 2011

    I think you will just have to wait and see when the time comes. I personally think 11 years old is to young for that kind of separation

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  2. Jul 18 2011

    I kinda think of the sleep-away-camp ideology as being the same as the sleep-through-the-night philosophy. They cry, you leave em, they adapt, they make the best of it. I’m not really for it. Of course if they don’t die, they’ll adapt. But that doesn’t always make it great for them. I think it is a kid-by-kid judgment call rather then a cross the board deal. Can’t wait to hear your assessment this weekend when you see them!

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  3. Allie
    Aug 30 2011

    I loved summer camp. I went for several years and never wanted to come home. It’s a place where kids can be free to run and play outside without a worry of the world happenings around them. I feel it embraces the childhood and innocence that seems to be disappearing earlier and earlier these days. Perhaps you can compromise on a week or two for the first summer, and longer the years following if that’s what the boys want…

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  4. casey peter
    Sep 21 2011

    lauren im not kidding when i say camp is the best thing thats ever happened to me. I don’t even know what words to put together to explain it.. i never would have met jen through it and i wouldn’t know how to be self efficient. I can do things that i never would even know how to do without it. Marksmanship and living simply. But most importantly i learned love there. I got 29 sisters and i love every single one. I can’t even possibly more sad that my summer are over. its probably the most sickening thought in the world that i can’t go back and even guys camps feel that way. like cedar senior boys were sobbing. i hope when the time comes you let the boys go because going to camp for the last 6 summers was the best thing thats ever happened to me<3
    love , casey
    p.s. i read this in english because i have to have a blog for class and i got bored and now I'm creeping yours lmao love ya

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