The Summer Place

Photo: New. Grill. New. Grill! NEW GRILL! YAS! This isn’t a luxury item, but a necessity: the little farmhouse does NOT have air conditioning, and these 80 degree days mean a hot house under normal circumstances. Even 15 minutes of the oven on makes for a really uncomfortable experience. It took 2 tries and 2 weeks to get this thing, which is ridiculous. Annnnddd… it’s not running as hot as I’d like it to. *sigh* Bu I’m going to give it a chance and we’re going to see what happens. Best feature? Rotisserie. Awwww yeaah. It’s about to go down. Hope to take some picture of that this weekend.

Summer camp is on a posh boarding school campus. Not even the poshest in the area, but pretty posh. This being their second year of camp (and having been on campus quite a few times for playdates with friends), they rolled up on that campus like they owned it. Like they belong there. Like it’s theirs.

Good. That’s what I’m going for.

Yet, they are still little bebes. Today, construction on an extension to one of the dorms was blocking the way between the parking lot and camp activities. We had to go around and, in so doing, we saw everything. “So, what’s up with those houses. Like, why are there houses on campus, anyway?” Major asked me.

“Well, those are dorm rooms.”

“Like college?” Minor asked. “Is this a college?”

“No,” I said. “Schools that are not college, like regular schools, like what you go to…. but where students live on campus, those are called boarding schools.” (I realize now that this is an unintelligible answer….)

“So wait. You, like, eat dinner and there is a bed here and this is where you live and go to school?” Major asked, aghast.

“Yes. That’s exactly right. That’s what a boarding school is.”

Needless to say, I blew their minds. The hilarious thing is they don’t even know the half of it.

I’ve thought a lot about whether or not this is the right thing to do for the boys. Am I setting them up with unrealistic expectations about how life is going to go? These boys have stepped into quiet a few mansions, dipped their feet into quiet a few private pools, marched across this incredible boarding school campus, high-fived the school headmaster on the way from point A to point B. This is their place now. Just as their building is their place during the school year, this is their place during the summer. They know where they are going, they know what to expect, they know who to look out for. They own it. It’s theirs. It will always be a part of their story.

I made a conscious choice about telling the boys why the are able to attend this camp. “This camp is extraordinarily expensive. We wouldn’t be able to afford to send the both of you two for even just one week here. But because Mommy chooses to work, you are able to come here. I’m not telling you that to make you feel bad. I’m telling you that so you can appreciate how special this is.”

I was feeling good about that until Major spat it back at me another way after pick-up this afternoon. “Wow… this is a camp only for rich kids, right? It’s just so crazy. Only rich kids get this.”

The truth breaks the heart. It’s one thing when I say it. It’s another thing when he does.

“But [Ursa Major], you deserve to be here. Don’t think that you don’t. You’re here because you deserve to be.”

He seemed to brighten at that. Like he knew it, and he knew he knew it, but he needed to hear it just to be sure. I have to remember to reframe this next time. The money isn’t what makes him worthy. That’s a long-duration lesson to teach.

I want my children to fly. We’ve given a lot and put in a hell of a lot down to get them here and make sure they have the best opportunities we can offer. I’ve only just begun. I wish upon wish I could send them to this posh boarding school when they are older (The Husband “doesn’t believe” in private school. I have time to work on him). I wish upon wish we had the resources to send these boys to this camp without me having to physically have to be there.

but

we don’t.

And actually, that’s for the better, for all of us. I want the boys to know that they can walk into any place, any room. I also want them to know that hard work earns them their places there. I’m always telling them to be here for the work. This is me doing that work right in front of them.

Don’t feel too badly for me. It’s a fun gig. I get to spend this week with a bunch of smart, sassy young women who are talented writers-in-training. I get to share some of my all-time favorite stories with them. I get to do fun things (like teambuilding today and Zumba tomorrow). I get to walk around a campus and get my 10,000 steps in (my fitbit was ELATED for the first time in a long time). And I might get a story or two done this week. That’s probably a pipe dream given how little I got done today (not surprising), but who knows? Who knows, Dear Reader? The week is full of potential!

Listen, I’m not going to write again until Friday. Would you do me a favor if you’re a Dear Reader here in the US? Will you please watch the Democrats debate this week? Even if you don’t stick around for the whole time, just spend a little time each night. I have a favorite, but I won’t tell you who to pay attention to. I just want you to pay attention. And if someone strikes your fancy, I want you to do a little work for them. I want you to get involved. I want you to do some talking. I want you to talk to people you know about policy. Not about the white supremacist in charge. Not about how much you hate him. I want you to talk about policy changes that candidates talk about that you believe will make a brighter future for us all.

I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

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