Ah, to have the summer off.
Careful what you wish for, right? I love my job. I love my job.
And yet, what fun it would be to laze around the house all day.
Or, better yet.
CLEAN the house, just once, top to bottom.
Re-do the children's bedrooms. Buy antiques on Nebraska Avenue to replace those long-neglected living room toy shelves. Plant a rock garden in what is now a weed garden. Hire that contractor, once and for all, for the bathroom.
• • •
Warning, another self-pitying rant about working motherhood.
Because the plain ugly truth is that since I don't get the summer off, neither do my kids.
They want to sleep until noon, call a friend or two, go to the mall maybe, watch television and play video games. "All the other kids get to stay home!"
I can hear my neighbor. "When I was that age, we were dropped off at Busch Gardens for the day!" I can hear my fellow soccer mom. "The hospital needs volunteers." I tip my hat.
Me, I've got to drag myself out of bed by 7 and find something wearable in 95 degree heat and 100 percent humidity.
On the way, I've got to drop the kids somewhere.
And that somewhere is camp.
There have been summers when we did the JCC in Citrus Park. I highly recommend it. There have been summers when we did YMCA sports camp. Ditto. Some of our finds are included in the camp guide in today's regional sections.
There have been other random camps over the years. A city-run tennis camp on Davis Islands that serves fruit smoothies after the lessons. Highly recommended. An indoor soccer camp on Lazy Lane in Carrollwood. A great concept until they went out of business.
Also out of business: Camp Hiawatha in Keystone, which my children loved the best.
I might write another time about our last experience with a school-based camp. Let's just say I'm looking for alternatives.
But it isn't easy. They're entering that too-old-for-camp, too-young-to-work stage.
I sympathize, truly I do. These are supposed to be lazy, unstructured days to read and needlepoint and dribble a basketball and watch the worst television in God's creation.
Instead, it's camp.
What if we lived in Europe and we all got a month or two off? What if we were all teachers? What if our neighborhoods were safe enough so we could just let our preteen children fend for themselves?
What if we could turn back time and have one more summer at Hiawatha?
The patchwork awaits. A week up North. A week at the beach. A hobby here. A project there. They might just get so bored they say yes to something I scare up on the Web.
If it's any good, you'll find it in next year's guide.