To Camp or Not to Camp…that is the question


“Why do you need to sign them up for summer camp?”

My husband asked me that question the other day. He actually asked it like it was a real question and not a joke. As if he didn’t notice me frantically scouring the town’s rec department website for fun camps that might still have openings and that I might be able to get the kids to go to for a few days this summer without having to fight them (or pay them, like I did last year. Don’t judge me.)

Why do I need to sign them up for camp? Did he seriously just ask me that? Can he NOT see the wild look of desperation in my eyes?

Oh my GOD! I’m half in the nuthouse right now just IMAGINING the endless summer with all 5 of them at home. I have to send them to SOME kind of camp. Something. Anything. My husband’s rationale was that we could save money not sending them to camp (which does get pretty expensive when you have to send 5 kids) and that HE never went to camp in the summer (so therefore summer camp is unnecessary, somehow.) But when I was a kid I DID go to camp. My mom would get out the summer catalog, and we all “got” to pick two one-week day camps that we wanted to go to. It was the greatest! I felt so lucky as I scanned the catalog trying to decide which class I would grace my presence with. I remember one year I went to baton twirling camp. A one-week camp that taught you how to twirl a baton. I had no need for this skill, but I didn’t care. Neither did my mother. She just signed all the paperwork and stood in our front door waving as the bus pulled into the neighborhood and we all got on for our awesome summer camp classes. See ya later, suckas!

And, by the way, I don’t even actually think that boycotting all summer camps would save us money in the long run.

If you think about it, after an entire summer spent dodging the daily question of “what are we doing today?” (as if I’m supposed to have a daily list of super fun activities planned…like they would at, oh I don’t know, CAMP), and trying to keep them all from killing each other, I’m most likely going to have a mental break down. It’s basically inevitable. I’ll go bananas, and then I’ll need expensive therapy. I’m talking full on, “she’s been hospitalized for exhaustion, look at her over there all curled up in the fetal position in the corner” kind of therapy.

An extended stay at some posh mental hospital has GOT to be more expensive than camp, right? Plus there are all the little expenses that you don’t think about when you are getting ready to lose your mind instead of sending the kids to camp because you’re trying to save a few bucks:

  • All the gas money spent as my poor husband has to visit me 3 times a day (it get’s lonely in the hospital, and I love visitors)
  • The money paid to the babysitter to watch the kids while he visits me (They can’t come with him, I couldn’t bear to have them see me like this…even though it is their fault that I am here.)
  • The daily delivery of fresh flowers (you know, just to keep my spirits up)
  • A personal mani/pedi person to come in weekly to keep my nails groomed (What? I’m supposed to live like an animal?)
  • A once-a-day twice-a-day Starbucks delivery of a grande hot chai tea latte extra hot with an extra pump of chai. Plus tip.
  • A new wardrobe once I get out (I’m pretty sure that I’ll lose weight while I’m in there)
  • Someone to come in once a day and tell me I’m pretty (just because)
  • Not to mention the expense of the limo ride to the hospital, and then home again when I am done with my treatments

It ain’t cheap. It ain’t easy. And it ain’t happening because they are going to camp.

See, the thing about summer vacation is that it only SEEMS fun and relaxing. But it’s actually the opposite of fun and relaxing. Think of something that is tiring and annoying, and that is summer vacation. Oh, wait, picture that your whole day is spent trying to keep 73 bunnies in a cage. That’s your whole job…just keep the bunnies alive, fed, and in the cage. Sounds easy enough. But the cage only has three sides. And the bunnies keep escaping. And every time you think you have them all in you see one across the yard that you have to go retrieve. Every now and then when you get a chance you huck food at them (and you don’t even care that it is basically just junk food because, omigod, they won’t stop escaping) but for the most part you just spend the whole day running around like a crazy person. Oh, and the bunnies complain and tell you that you are mean. And it’s really hot out. So your hair is frizzy.

THAT, that right there, is the real summer vacation.