It’s March and that means it’s time to register for summer camps before they fill up. Ax has announced he does not want to go to summer camp. No summer camps at all.
Not the LEGO one, not the sports one he liked so much last year, the arts and crafts one, the tech one, or the outdoorsy one. He doesn’t want to go to the camp where they make arrowheads or the one where they program computers or the one where they bang on drums and pianos. He doesn’t want to go to the surf one or the skateboarding one. He wants to stay home. With me.
I said to him, “You can’t stay home all day watching TV you know.”
He said, “I don’t want to watch TV. I want to do other things.”
“And play games, and snuggle,”
And when he mentioned snuggling I knew I was being somewhat played.
“And eat, and relax,” he said.
I breathed deeply. I could relate to not wanting to go to camp. To wanting to sit around reading. And eating. But I worry that if we have the ability to give him more — more stimulation, more exposure to people and experiences — we’d be remiss in not giving him more.
Now, I like the idea of Ax being home all summer. I actually do. But the home I envision him being in involves a different house, with a bigger, wilder, more woodsy back yard. And a different kitchen, a bigger kitchen with perhaps a huge farm table made of reclaimed barn wood that’s constantly filled with local, organic, low-glycemic index treats and loving friends and family who happen to stop by.
This ideal home of mine includes a different me too — a me that does crafts, likes games, and raises chickens, and has wood to chop, and other handy-type, connected-to-the-land-type chores to share with my child.
It’s not where we live or how we live. Our dining room table is white, and often filled with paperwork, not homemade gluten-free apple turnovers.
We live like urbanites, nature-adjacent but not really in it. Ax is not super into getting out and since my foot injury a year ago neither am I.
He likes to stay home. He likes to host. He likes to be alone. I do too.
But people don’t stop by. I make play dates via seemingly endless texts to juggle all our kids’ activities. I try to keep healthy snacks around, but lately all I’m eating is avocado and almonds. Ax is still on the all-tortellini and chocolate chip muffins program.
So I panicked when he said he wanted to be home. All summer. How would I do what I want to do and need to do? How would he get the right “stimulation”?
So I said, “I’m worried that since you are usually in school or in camp a lot of the time that that’s when I do my errands and things that aren’t ax-related so that when we are together I can be all about you. If you’re not in camp I’m going to have to do that stuff with you will that be okay?”
“Yes,” he said, “Or I could have a play date then.”
“And there are things I’m going to want to do with you that maybe aren’t your first choice like taking walks and going to the beach.”
“Of course I will also want to do what you want to do. We’ll have to figure that out.”
I’m scared it won’t be okay. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be. It’s not going to look like little house on the prairie. It’s going to be our little house in the village this summer. And that actually suits us quite well. I’m gonna take the win. I’m gonna keep going.