One of the traditions in our family since my oldest grandson was about nine, was to have him come for a week in summer and go to the local university’s sports camp for kids. He got to wear himself out in sports for a week, and we got to have the pleasure of his company in the evenings and in the mornings and we all had a great time.
When his brother was old enough to come, we had the two of them – and a cousin. Then the oldest boy got too old, but my first granddaughter was just the right age. So she came, too – all the way from Texas –and got to spend a week at camp, and a week with her cousin. And we got to enjoy both of them.
We also got a visit from our daughter which was a real treat. Thus began “Mom Camp.”
While the kids were off doing their thing, my daughter and I – and the teenage daughter of one of my cousins – took matters into our own hands and created our own version of Having A Blast.
We ate at the local Japanese restaurant, where we relished the fact that no kids came along to think a hamburger would have been better. We tie-dyed t-shirts one year. We made tote bags using vegetables to stamp designs another. And all the while we talked and laughed and laughed.
We looked at old photos and told family stories and made some memories of our own. We had such a good time that we had to share it. Since that first year my friend Nancy the cat slayer (no, she doesn’t, but we have a photo of her looking like she might), several other friends and a couple of my neighbors have joined in.
The teenage cousin’s grandmother, my wonderful aunt, flew out from Arizona because she decided that she wanted to be part of it, too.
We’ve had years of tea parties and lime sinkholes (less intense but every bit as wonderful as the chocolate ones. We’ve made a habit of watching Mamma Mia one night (we really can’t stop laughing at that one). We’ve watched episodes of Wonderfalls – especially the one with the talking cow creamer – because Jay, the heroine, sounds exactly like the teenage cousin.
We think the kids like sports camp. But we have a secret – we like Mom Camp even better.
We’ve done it for five years now. It has pretty much been the high point of the summer. Last year we even took Mom Camp on the road. I had a conference to go to in Washington DC. I had a hotel room going to waste – so my daughter, my granddaughter (fresh from sports camp and eager to be an honorary Mom for a week) and one of my daughters-in-law joined me there. Mom Camp can survive – and even thrive in other venues. I highly recommend it. The talking and the stories and the laughter go on and on and on.
But this year, it isn’t happening. Not the way it has. Granddaughter from Texas can’t come this year. And her mom has a new job that means she will be working straight through July. Teenage cousin has a job this summer that she can’t leave either. Arizona aunt is stuck at home.
It’s possible that Nancy and the neighbors and I will get up to no good, we might bake a bit, laugh a lot and do our own mini-Mom Camp, hoping that we can get the ‘real thing’ going again next year. The sports camp is going on anyway. Two more grandsons are “of an age” this year. So I’ll have the three boys at least.
Any maybe, while they are off playing football or lacrosse or shooting arrows or climbing rock walls, I’ll see if I can’t do a bit of Virtual Mom Camping.
Can you say Facetime? I knew there was a reason I was getting an iPad. And not just to meet the new grandchild who’s due to arrive this month.
Yes, Virtual Mom Camp sounds like a plan.
After all, the only other alternative would be for me to write!
Have you ever had your own version of Mom Camp? What were the highlights? I’d love to hear about them.
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Anne’s most recent book was the Harlequin Presents Extra, Savas’s Wildcat. Her next one, Breaking the Greek’s Rules, will be out around Christmas – or so she hears.