Of course once I’ve already said my summer goodbye I think of something I need to post. I’ve never learned how to say goodbye gracefully.
Anyway. So life is crazier than normal around here as I get the kids ready for camp and for Israel. This year I really felt good about the kids going away. They missed camp last year because of our Israel trip and I know that they are all so excited to be going back. I also know that my eldest will have a great experience on the Biluim trip with his good friends. This is one of my favourite things about parenting. I love watching my kids grow up and achieve new levels of independence and gain new experiences. For me, my goal as a parent is to raise well adjusted, independent young men and woman. There are times that I jokingly refer to myself as a smother. I’m all over those kids and completely in the face of those who affect their lives. However, as they are growing up I realize that I need to pull back to a certain degree. I’ve been surprised to discover that I actually enjoy this withdrawing phase. It allows me to step back and to take a good look at the people my children have become and are continuing to evolve into. When they were little it was my sworn duty to make sure that everything was cut into small enough pieces to keep them safe from choking. All that cutting gets tiring. I like watching them fend for themselves and seeing how they deal with things. Don’t get me wrong, if they really need me to chop I’ll still chop for them. No one will choke on my watch even if they occassionally bite off more than they can chew.
Even with this subtle withdrawing there is still a lot of demand from four kids. They each need to know that they are important to me. Some times that message can be hard to deliver. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and tired and I just want to be left alone. With four kids there is always someone who is not doing exactly what makes him/her happiest in life at any given moment and they seem to see that as my problem. There is always someone who wants to know something; what’s for dinner, what’s for lunch, when are we going to Toronto next, can someone sleep over, can I sleep somewhere else, can we bake, can we eat, can we get new shoes, can my bedtime be extended, can we get a dog, if we could travel back in time what would the stars look like, what really happens when you die, how come you and Dad have the nicest bathroom when there are only two of you and there are four of us, can we go to the beach with friends and will you pick us up later, can my friend stay for dinner, do I have to eat at home tonight, what’s the difference between algebra and trigonomotry, why do we even need to take French anyway, why do girls care so much about their hair? It’s exhausting and I often don’t have the answers (I’m lost on math, science and girl-hair).I say that I have 10 months a year of decent parenting in me, this leaves us with a two month problem. Fortunately, six weeks of camp lessens the problem to two weeks a year, more or less (probably more to be brutally honest).
So I’ve been pretty excited thinking about my upcoming holiday. All this time to myself. Days to do whatever I want and evenings to reacquaint myself with my husband. What could be better? So why the other day when one of the kids mentioned going away did I suddenly find it difficult to breathe and felt my eyes fill with tears? Camp is great for my kids, great for my marriage and a great break for me. Why has the feeling of giddiness for my finite period of freedom deserted me for a feeling of loss and sadness? I really don’t want them home for the summer but I don’t want them gone either.