My daughter went to her first sleep away camp this summer. She’s eight. As some parents (annoyingly) pointed out, young enough to potentially be scarred for life by the experience. I’m sorry, in case you’ve mistaken me for one of those wholesome Carol Brady types, you’re reading the wrong blog. In this household, we’re all about throwing money into the future therapy fund and doing it anyway.
Appropriately, the all-girls camp she attended was called Camp Hollywoodland—name alone told me it suited by rockstar president want-to-be kid.
I, in turn, got my first five-day break from my gremlin to have grown-up, alone time in I can’t even tell you how long. Actually, I can tell you: Since never. Never, ever have my other half and I had four nights and five days to ourselves, but who’s counting right? I bet you’re expecting me to write about how much I missed her or my best tips and tricks on prepping our littles to leave the nest and play nice in the world. Maybe a quick course in separation anxiety and helicopter parenting? Nope, not here, not even close! See above paragraph about reading the wrong blog. So, let me explain how her trip to camp came to be absolutely, one-hundred percent about me…
It all started with a little harmless information gathering—a simple Google search. The week before she left for camp, while researching what to pack and how to not throw myself at her feet when she left, I stumbled across a gem of an article in the New York Post entitled, “With kids away at camp, parents revel in drug-fueled sex parties.” Well, hot damn, I sure didn’t see that one coming.
Go ahead, take a moment—I know I did—to reread that mouthful, just to make sure you read it right the first time and then just let it sink in. Did you get the visuals yet? Yeah, me too. The article went on to exemplify this new fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants take on kid-free summers and the apparently new trend for parents to party like their 21 again and it’s 1999. Two words: Mind blown.
No, no, no. This is not happening. How did I not get the memo? Do I not set the trends anymore? Am I out of the proverbial loop? When did I stop being cool? I mean, I wear jeans with over-priced rips in them. I know where I stand in the T. Swift/Kim K. feud. I take my kid out of school to play hooky at Disneyland. I. Am. Fun. Right? Oh wait, I never thought drugs or sex-fueled parties were cool or fun. My bad. I must be thinking of that rebel I secretly dreamt of being.
Regardless of the debauchery that those over-zealous East Coast parentals are engaging in (which I can say with love because some of my best Mommy-friends live in New York), this is not the new norm, at least not in our boring vanilla world, nor is it anything I or any right-minded parent is aspiring to be. It’s an extreme example at the end of a spectrum I never want to encounter, but it got me thinking.
I mean really, while I could never take anything published in The Post too seriously (it’s not much above The National Enquirer), it gave me pause for a moment: In becoming a parent, have I lost my ability to be spontaneous? Worse yet, am I like Stella trying to get her groove back? When did I even lose it? Or maybe I never had it! And who are these parents they speak of and how can I make sure I stay as far away them as possible?
While my week wasn’t quite a scene from Animal House, I did manage to escape up the coast to Solvang and Santa Barbara for two days, eat dinner at my favorite Lebanese restaurant in Belmont Shore and watch a R-Rated movie in a theater with chairs that reclined and served food, all while enjoying uninterrupted adult conversation. And yes, I squeezed in a little naked time with my guy. Okay, a lot of naked time—sans any drugs or third-parties thankfully! I missed my kid just enough to appreciate her a little more when she got home, and enjoyed the short time my guy and I were able to carve out together without her. It was a healthy dose of boring balance for the entire family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I guess ultimately, I take comfort in this slightly vanilla version of my life, and am happy to leave the drunken debauchery and shameless shenanigans to the “cool” kids on the East Coast.
Oh, and for those of you wondering how she survived, this is what she said to me when I told her how much I missed her: “Sadly Mommy, I couldn’t think of you because I was having too much fun.” Best. Words. Ever.
Lewak, Doree (2016, July 18). The New York Post. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2016/07/18/with-kids-away-at-camp-parents-revel-in-drug-fueled-sex-parties/