No. I never went to band camp, or any other camp for that matter. Wait. I think I vaguely remember a Girl Scout camping thing once. Anyway. I spent my summers at a babysitter's house, usually a teenager. The sitter changed virtually every summer with mixed results. For whatever reason, the sitter always liked my sister or me. Never the both of us. When I turned 12 (the summer after 6th grade) we stayed home by ourselves.
And no, this is not some sort of indictment against my parents (Hi, Mom!) They were working and obviously, my sister and I had to be somewhere during the summer when school was out. After and before-school care was even more varied and wonky. Sometimes, I would go straight home to where my dad was sleeping since he worked nights. Other times, I would go a sitter's home - generally, a little old lady's house. For awhile, my mom dropped me off at a service station because that was where the bus driver worked. I would sit there for about an hour before the bus route began. No, no. I was not scared and the men who worked there were very kind to me, but I remember feeling very awkward, shy and miserable. And bored.
Folks often assume I will just "go back to work" when Anjali begins school full-time. Maybe I will. Maybe I will not. I do not really relish the idea of scrambling around, finding folks to watch my kids as their school schedules change. Furthermore, it seems that in these days, schools take into account parents' schedules even less than before. What the hell is an "in-service" day anyway? What the hell do parents do with their kids on those days?
X does not get it. He does not know how it is to spending hour after hour after hour in someone else's house. A house that sometimes that person does not even want you to be in but they have accepted you because they need the money. I remember one house in particular, we had to get up so early and it was clear that the girl watching us did not relish getting up so early either. Often, she would lay on the couch and fall back to sleep while we fended for ourselves.
So, yes. X has a hard time understanding how strongly I feel about this. His mom was always there. Always. Sure, that presented another completely new set of issues, with how his mother devoted her entire existence to her children and was left with nothing for herself. I am not going to wax maternal poetic on your asses. Her sacrifices were not without cost. And I am not even suggesting I would be willing to make the same sacrifice. I will not be the mommy waiting at the door with cookies when my kids come home from school. But I would like to be the mommy who is home.
But there has to be a middle ground. And I have to find it.