Back in January, I asked the kids if they wanted to go to 'sleepaway' camp. Sydney, I knew, would want to go. She said "YES!!!!". Jackson, I was not so sure about. He said "okay".
Before there was any changeth of mind, I sprinted to the computer to register them (after trying to coordinate schedules with friends and family so some compadres would also be present).
So for the past 6 months, we have had the specter of a full week of camp for the kids. This was going to be awesome, even apart from the fact that we might catch up on laundry for the first time in ten and a half years.
I grew up going to camp. A week or two in the summer. I have great memories (and a few traumatic ones) at camp. Campfire skits. Swimming (and bathing) in the lake. Camp crafts. I wanted them to have that. And more.
I think my faith in God grew exponentially those weeks at camp. I wanted them to be immersed in "God stuff" and be able to blossum.
In early July, I began the planning and coordination for operation: camp. I gathered intelligence from camp Moms about what kind of bag to buy, how many jackets to send and whether there really was any point to sending more than one pair of socks.
As we talked about camp, I started to remember some very important things that I loved about camp.
The tuck shop. How could I forget about free candy? The kids were incredulous that I was sending money along and they could buy candy. "will they have chocolate?" Sydney wanted to know. I told the kids that we sent money along, and they got to pick how much they spent. And to add to the excitement, I told them they could keep the money they don't spend. My little social experiment.
I expect Sydney will come home with vapours left over and she will have enjoyed the candy-paloosa. Jackson will buy a few sour gummy worms a day and will have money to bring home. He is saving up to buy a laptop as he is sure his tightwad mother will never buy him one. (He might actually have a good chunk if he didn't always want to spent his money on
The other thing I recalled about camp was the feeling of independance. Even though a counsellor was assigned to me, I had to get myself sorted out without being reminded to get dressed. I got to organize my stuff, choose my clothes and pick what to do in free time. It was my little piece of adulthood and I loved it.
So I chatted this up to the kids. Jackson took to this idea. He loves feeling independant and the notion of being the master of his own destiny appealed.
Over the past week, I topped them up with as much parenting as I could manage. "Don't forget sun screen" "Remember to brush your teeth" "Watch out for each other."
I thought I may have gone overboard and I did not want to squelch all the fun out of camp. After all, I wanted them to go back next year! So I said "you don't have to wear mathcing outfits".
Then I recalled that Sydney is a pathological rule follower. She has been known to come home from play dates not having done something extremely innocuous because she didn't ask my permission (I know, right?). So I told her I wanted her to follow the camp rules, and be respectful but she didn't have to follow all of Mommy's rules.
Then, against my better judgment I told Jackson the same thing.
The next day as