This is going to be my last special Words on Wednesday post. This time next week the girls will be back in school and life can return to normal.
Or what passes for normal around here!
This endeavour of mine hasn’t gone according to plan (when do they ever, right) but I am pleased that I tried it. That we tried it! For this really was a joint effort – mine and my girls. I think I can safely say I’d do it again but with some changes.
This was a last minute idea so quite often I was madly writing their lessons late at night or first thing in the morning. Not ideal.
Not sure why I thought the kids would be excited to learn about the proper way to clean a toilet or make a bed but …. hey, live and learn. Next time, simpler lessons for the little one, and fewer expectations of perfection all around!
More hands-on activities.
The favourite lessons were the ones where they had to look up something, find something, make something, or go somewhere. Noted!
Add some way for them to give back.
The older I get, the more I feel the need to give back. I’ve not had the easiest life, but I’m still very blessed and no matter how hard your own life may be, there are always others with it tougher than you! I’d like to find a way to add a philanthropic element to next years plan.
Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about today …
Granny Camp 2016
Every year since 2009, my in-laws have hosted the girls at their house in Victoria to give my husband and I a break. Incredible, right? Everyone should have in-laws like mine!
That first year, Christine was a baby so we took her with us to Seattle for the weekend. The novelty of only having one child for the weekend was so amazing it felt like we’d had a complete break! Subsequent years they took all three girls. First it was only for two or three days, but as the girls got older and more independent, they started taking them for a full week.
(insert heavenly angels singing here)
Every year I make a list of things I want to accomplish while the girls are away. This year the list was FOUR PAGES! A bit over zealous perhaps?
I think I maybe got through a pages worth!
So what did I accomplish?
I got Christine’s room cleaned – walls washed (little artists had scribbled all over the walls above the bunk bed – in ball point pen no less!), door washed (this time it was marker with a bit of pen), toys and books sorted, sheets washed, beds remade, clothes sorted, floor vacuumed. Job well done!
Then I went to clean Paige’s room … and froze. I can not even describe to you the state of her room. Suffice it to say it was full of all sorts of random bits and pieces that only a ten year old can think of as precious. I vacuumed the entry as the carpet was loaded with an as yet unidentified grainy substance which I suspect was a spilled bottle of bath salts. But that was as far as I got. I honestly had no idea where to start, so I didn’t. She’s ten, I figured, she could do it herself! Even if it takes her til next Granny Camp! It’s not like she’s currently sleeping in there anyway! (Long story!)
Marley’s room wasn’t in bad shape, mostly because she’d already tidied it in preparation for it being painted earlier in July. So I just washed her sheets, remade her bed and moved on. Other things like re-hanging her bulletin board and mirrors could wait until she got back.
As much as I would have loved to get more house cleaning/sorting done (snort), my major efforts last week were spent job hunting. Yep, it’s time to get back into the “real world” again and contribute to the household in a monetary way. Apparently you can’t pay your MasterCard bill with “but I made sure the girls were fed, clothed, and didn’t kill each other today, doesn’t that count for something?” Sigh.
And I also enjoyed the silence.
Having children is noisy. Even when they’re not fighting with you or with each other, they make noise. All. The. Time! Happy noises, playing noises, mad noises, screaming noises, bored noises, you name it! I find constant noise extremely draining so a week of no noises but my own was heaven!
I enjoyed the freedom.
Since Marley turned twelve, I’ve had more freedom to pop out to the grocery store alone or go to the Passport Office without having to drag all three girls along. But having no children here meant being able to do all of those things, and more, without once having to make sure Marley was home to watch the other two. Or check in with someone when a quick conversation with a store owner turned into two days work minding the store while she ran errands (true story).
Think back to when you were in your twenties. You wanted to go to the movies, you went. No checking multiple schedules to make sure no one missed a soccer practice. No babysitters needed. You just went out. Had fun. Came home. Bliss!
One week of that kind of freedom wasn’t nearly long enough! I love my kids A LOT, but sometimes ….
We Skyped with the girls one night and Marley said “you wouldn’t be able to live without us!” My response was “Challenge accepted!” She was not impressed. I was only half kidding.
Does that make me a bad Mom? I don’t think so. Just one that appreciates the opportunity to enjoy being apart from her kids.
I see a lot of people posting things on social media about how they hate the end of summer because their kids have to go back to school and they miss them so much. I don’t understand those people! I am in count down mode as much as my kids are, eagerly anticipating the start of a new school year! Please take my children for six hours a day!! Please!!
Again, I love my kids but …
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, I also think time apart works the same way. Whether it’s six hours a day, or an entire week, time apart is essential to maintaining relationships. It may seem counter intuitive but it’s true! I don’t think I could love my kids any more than I do, but time apart from them helps me appreciate their individual characters and needs more when they return. They are less “the girls” – a lumped identity – and more “my girls”, each distinct and loved for their differences as well as their similarities.
Long live Granny Camp!
Sadly, I don’t know how much longer it will go on. With my in-laws aging, and my girls growing up so fast, I see it as something whose end point is closer than we’d like. Marley has the opportunity this year to work towards a place on the Provincial U-14 Field Hockey team. If she makes it, she won’t be able to go to Granny Camp next year as she’ll be playing at Provincials. We are also planning an extended trip to the UK next summer with possibly an extra week in France too. All those plans add up to no Granny Camp. At least, not for all three of them.
For now though, I thank my in-laws for hosting my girls and for sending such glowing reports of their behaviour. We will wait and see what next summer holds.
Have a great week everyone!
Oh, I promised a photo of the finished pillows, here it is!
They are all thrilled with their efforts!