So my lovely friend and I were discussing, and meticulously planning, our children’s summers this evening.
Each year, she plans ahead of time and I make vague noises in the direction of planning to register the kids for activities. They have never, therefore, been able to enjoy summer camps in each other’s presence, even though they are great friends (her two and two of my three) and we always want them to go to camps together.
This year I finally decided I needed to actually hop on the planning band wagon.
It’s an odd thing, that I took so long to hop on this particular wagon, because I fret over many, many things, but I don’t fret about planning ahead for summer camps. Of course, this means that every summer I spend far more time anxiously trying to reach camp directors at the last minute than I would have spent just buckling down and making some choices. I’ve paid late fees, I’ve dashed in with paperwork as morning activities have started. I’ve had kids turned down for the one camp they really wanted to attend. It’s ridiculous, really.
Part of it is just the horror of adding up what it costs to send 3 children to summer camps.
When I get it right, though, it’s 100% worth the money and the anxiety (ahead of time, or last minute). Max, who’d never found a camp he couldn’t learn to dread after day 1 or 2, came back from Sherbrooke Lake Camp with shining eyes and non-stop rhapsodizing for at least a week after. He was transported, this evening, when describing the joys of said camp for my friend’s child. Heck, I want to go, too (full disclosure: I did go, as a junior counselor, when I was about 15. It was (and is) awesome).
And so this all made me think about that other kind of clutter: mental clutter. My friend ruminates on securing spots for her children, while I spend anxious nights and days worrying about squeaking my kids in by the skin of their teeth. We each worry about various troubles our children might encounter at camps (based on their varied personalities). And then there is the worrying about having an action plan in place if something should go wrong while they’re camping. Fortunately, each of us work for incredibly flexible employers. But it doesn’t hurt to worry about it in advance.
Except it does, actually. It’s great to have a fellow fretter, because she can say things like “but it’s all worked out for you and your kids in the end, anyway, hasn’t it?”
Well, yes. Yes, it has. We’ve had issues and we’ve dealt with them. Thus far, Clara has been trouble-free, but we’re not sure she’s old enough for sleepaway camp yet (she’s 7 and ready for anything). Last year, we had to talk Solomon down from a panic attack, on the phone, from his first sleepaway camp that was located over 2 hours away by car. This year he’s quivering with excitement at the prospect of going to an even longer camp (Sherbrooke). And over the years, we have had to allow Max to withdraw from various camps because his general easy going nature was so far gone we could hardly recognize him.
But none of it was avoided, managed, or mitigated by fretting about it.
Tonight, after my friend left, Solomon asked me “were you actually worried about me at camp last summer?” (meaning, after the first night when he called and could hardly talk he was sobbing so hard and we had to swear we’d come get him in the morning if he woke up and still did not want to be there and after almost an hour on the camp counselor’s phone we had him calmed enough to lie in his sleeping bag and promise to call us in an hour if he was still upset). Yes, we were actually worried. He chuckled at this, shook his head a little, and walked off.
Just so much mental clutter…
Day 205 scorecard: 1025 down, 800 to go
(let’s all pretend I am not, now, fretting about remembering to actually register the children…)