There’s a significance about this summer: it’s the first one in about 10 years that the RT hasn’t had to attend a camp. Hasn’t “had” to. “Had.” He has attended camp because like many others, we worked, and he would have been alone at home for a good portion of the day if we hadn’t found something for him to do. No siblings his age to stay home with like we were able to when I was growing up. No endless days of doing absolutely nothing — although I do remember being completely entertained. Hours of black and white television reruns. Dressing up in my mom’s clothes. Mixing every ingredient in the spice cupboard and daring each other to taste it. Watching my brother take the dare. Tying my sister up and chaining her to the street sign in front of our house. Like I said — fun.
So the RT’s been packed off to a variety of YMCA camps to endure popsicle stick craft projects, “special” weekly outings, and a tough kid or two who have tried to poke him in the nose. He’s been to camps that focused on mask making and rocketry. San Diego Zoo camp, and Sea World camp. He’s had plenty of time at Camp Gramma as well, to fill in the spots between the other camps. The last two years, he’s been dropped off at UCSD, a host site for iD Tech Camps. It’s a bit pricey, but he has shown some interest in various aspects of computer technology like every other boy his age — read video games — so this was an opportunity to provide some depth learning in a couple of areas. He seemed to enjoy it, but all in all, it was still camp. No buddies to hang with. No war mongering soul mates to hunker down with and talk shop. Just camp.
This year? I guess it’s all about me. Call it Camp Mom. Apple pie, baked bread…well, not exactly. More like frozen microwavable burritos and and an IV with Black Cherry Vanilla Coke flowing from its bag. Endless trips up and down the stairs from the computer in his room, to the TV, to the PS2, to his models. Oh, and there is the daily chore of walking the dog I neglected to mention. Some movement will be involved.
What’s my role then? Balancing the inertia I’ve described above with semi-constructive “other things to do that involve learning and moving your body.” Unfortunately, I’m not very good at this but I have been thinking about it for a couple of months now.
The first things that come to mind are museums. You know — special exhibits. Things we could talk about. I picture the RT sort of slogging after his mom through these places, wishing he was in front of his computer, or tinkering with one of his tanks. That image doesn’t particularly sit well with me. Or art galleries. Take our sketch pads, do our own renditions of what we’re looking at. That could be interesting. Abstract nudes? He’d shoot those flat eyebrow darts at me for that.
And the beach is five minutes away. We could rent bikes because we don’t own them. And when the RT did own a bike, he chose not to ride it. Ever. It ended up in a parent raffle at my old elementary school, scoring me many bonus points. We could ride on the boardwalk or around the bay. I think he’d like that. We could see how many rollerbladers we could crash into, or tourists we could knock down because it’s been a while since I’ve been on a bike as well.
Or we could rent kayaks. He enjoyed it when we went to Cape Cod a couple of summers ago. Besides, Mission Bay doesn’t have the currents that Nantucket Sound does, so he wouldn’t have to worry about exerting himself, or spraining his mouse finger. Just kidding. And what about one of those boards you run, jump on, and skim across the water with before falling on your posterior? Yes, I can see myself doing that, all right. It does look fun, though. I’m thinking he’d most likely not be interested in being close enough on the beach to me that people would connect the two of us as belonging together. So maybe the better purchase is a board for him, and an umbrella for me. An umbrella, beverage, and a really juicy beach read. Except there isn’t one in that stack of books I’m wallowing through. On second thought, I do have The Bride Stripped Bare somewhere just waiting to be read…
The library is definitely in order. Once a week should do it. Yes, he always gets to choose his books. What do you think I am? I’m only a wannabe control freak. He’s always enjoyed his books, and although I’m sure he’d like to purchase them so he can savor them over and over again, we’re on a semi “what can we save if we don’t really need to spent it” kind of quest here.
I’ve heard our local branch has quite the collection and some great events scheduled, so I’ve wanted to investigate. Has he? He’s 14. He’d most likely rather rent time at Office Games over at the mall while I shop. Or hang out with the seals at Casa Beach.
I’d like to nudge him to set up his own website. He is a walking storehouse of knowledge about WWII, tanks, military vehicles, aircraft in particular, weapons, and history in general. It’s truly incredible. So in an attempt to get him to consider bringing together his knowledge, tech interests, and to sneak in some much needed writing practice–along with some graphics for good measure–I think he’d enjoy that. However, I’m only the camp director. Time will tell whether my influence leads to success.
There’s always photography and Photoshop–something he learned to use this past year at school. He can show me how to use it so I won’t have to learn. Trick. But he does click those buttons faster than I seem to be able to.
We’ll see how that goes. Camp Mom. I’m not great at it, but I’m willing to try.
You can lead a horse to water, but… if you have to, you can push its nose in the trough.
Troughs are not quite the same as hoops. It’s easier because all you have to do is fall in — or be pushed. And if it’s big enough, you can either sink or swim.
Or get a floatie and then splash water at the person who pushed you in.
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