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Would You Go to Sleep Away Camp With Your Kids?

Tomorrow I’m leaving for a week long sleep away camp with my kids. Yup, I’m a little crazy. It gets better. Not only am I taking Gomer, 7, and Adolpha, 5, I am also taking my mother, my grandmother and my aunt. Insane, right?

Eh, I don’t know. It’s tradition. (I’m actually more stressed out by the fact that I haven’t begun packing yet and I’m worried we might have a repeat of Gomer’s accident last year that put us in the strangest ER I’ve ever seen.) I grew up attending the same kind of camps with my family and a few years ago my grandmother asked me if I’d come and bring my kids to continue the tradition. I reluctantly agreed thinking I didn’t have many years left with my grandmother and it would be a nice memory if we went that one year. Three years later Grandma is going strong and so are we and we keep adding family members. The one family member who politely declines every year is The Hubs. He was raised in New York City and suburban Kansas is rural enough for him. Plus, cell service is spotty where we’re going and someone has to stay home and run our business. He makes the supreme sacrifice for our family.

The camp is only a few hours from my house and it’s not exactly “camping.” It’s more like a rustic Motel 6 with bad food and WiFi. (Thank goodness there is WiFi. I don’t think I would go if they didn’t have that.)

It’s actually not as bad as I make it sound. Every year as my kids get older, it gets easier. The first year I had to haul a Pack ‘n Play, diapers, wipes, bottles, baby food, the kitchen sink. I still pack a lot, but if I only had enough clean underwear for every day, swimsuits, sunblock and plenty of bug spray we could survive.

In some ways camp is a lot better than home. I have lots of extended family there to help me wrangle the kids and they get to spend time with their grandmother and great-grandmother and great-aunt, not to mention the several cousins who have started coming too. The food might be bad, but at least I don’t have to make it. My kids go to classes every morning and I have time to work in uninterrupted silence (by a lake if I want – ahhh….bliss). There is a mandatory rest time where everyone has to lay down for one hour and read or sleep (more bliss). There is swimming and boating and fishing in the afternoon followed by another dinner I did not have to prepare. I don’t have to clean or do laundry that week. There is no hectic schedule to follow or errands to run. There are campfires and watermelon or s’mores at night.

We come home sunburned, covered in bug bites, exhausted, content and already planning for next year.

What about you? What are your summer traditions?

Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).

Follow Jen at PIWTPITT on Facebook and Twitter.

Read more of Jen at PIWTPITT — Do You Ask Your Child or Tell Your Child?and I Think My Kids Could Be Future Nudists and Am I Raising a Mini Hoarder?

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Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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