By: Imma Dearest
I recently read of a new chesed organization which provides money for those who can’t afford camp. Of course, this is a nice initiative for those who need it. Often, mothers need to work in the summer, or need some time off, or have children who seek adventure and need camp yet may not be able to afford “yeshiva tuition: the sequel”. But (there has to be a but or what type of article would this be?) I resent the implication that any child who doesn’t go to camp, nevach, it’s because their parents can’t afford it.
Baruch Hashem, we can afford camp, although I can easily find other ways to spend the $10,000 it would cost my family for camp. I choose each summer to keep my children with me. Does this make us lonely, bored, tv watching zombies? Absolutely not. It means days filled with shared activities of fun in the sun. Do I crave alone time also? Yes and my husband usually helps more on summer weekends.
But most days, we go out, explore various parks and museums, meet up with other like-minded families, and go on other adventures we would never have time for in the winter. I think of it as “homeschooling lite”. I considered homeschooling but came to the conclusion I really don’t know how to teach. In the summer, there is no such pressure. And we enjoy the time together. Unlike winter when I often feel like a drill sergeant pushing my children on the treadmill to school, to homework, and to bed, in the summer, we have time for each other. I see them at their best. Not stressed from school but running around carefree as children should be. More time together also means some slipped in questions and comments that would have only come out after long comfortable periods of time together.
I just know that when they are grown and the admonition everyone warns me about comes true “they grow up so fast. My baby is 30 years old now and I don’t know where the time went” most of our memories will be from the summer.