Four little boys stand in front of me, all talking at the same time. Fresh off the bus from camp, their faces are wild with excitement, their hands full of rocks, arrowheads and crafts.
What I wouldn't give to go back to summer camp.
And why is it exactly that I can't go to camp? Why is camp reserved for kids? Their whole life is summer camp. If anybody should go, it's us grown-ups. Oh, to be back at Camp Greystone …
I get there early to get a top bunk. I make my bed and tack up pictures of my kids – not because I'll miss them, but because I'm going to be so busy having fun, I don't want to forget them. Excitedly, I wait for the other moms.
Our counselor comes bounding in and welcomes us to our week of no responsibility whatsoever. She tells us there's no cell phone reception. We all cheer.
“This is YOUR week, moms! Welcome, to Camp Tay-ka-bray-ka!”
Now I'm free to explore my deep-seated interests. I sign up for fencing, Tae Bo and tap dancing. And horseback riding, only because I want a blue ribbon to replace my red one I got in 1978 when I lost to a girl who stayed on a horse trying throw her. It really wasn't fair.
Precision sports such as riflery and archery are my favorite. In this chaotic world of multitasking, I get a huge rush focusing on one single thing for a whole hour. It's a double-rush, really, because I'm excited to hit the target and euphoric to spend time just boosting my ego.
I take weaving so I can weave the matches to all the single potholders I have. And pottery, to make the two giant, painted pots I need for my front porch.
I take glass beading to custom make jewelry to match my clothes, and woodworking, to design a jewelry box with necklace slots, so I don't spend the first hour of date night trying to untangle the one I want.
I eat great meals cooked by somebody else, while counselors bring letters from our families telling us how much they miss us and want us to come home. We laugh our heads off, then race to the candy shack before it closes. And we openly eat Milky Ways with no shame.
We sing beautiful songs around the camp fire. And then my favorite part. The only chance we moms have of getting one. AWARDS! I don't care if it's Most Improved Baton Twirler, just please, pin a metal on me.
Lying on my bunk, listening to the other moms giggle, I realize my life at home with two preschoolers is its own form of summer camp. Lots of activities, and fun and laughter. Even precision sports, if you count taking out splinters.
Rethinking it now, it'd be great fun to go to camp, but I'd probably be just as homesick now as I was at 12. I could probably find a rifle range here in town.
Maybe a place to take a tap class. Besides, here the snack bar is always open.