Yesterday I bought some gifts online, I hung some holiday lights, I purchased tinsel and then I completely freaked out because I do not not have any idea of what I'm doing with my daughter for the summer. Nope, I didn't see that coming, either, but it was the result of reading a Chicago Tribune story about families who already have their summer camp plans all set. Unbelievably, summer camp registration is underway.
Peg Smith, executive director of the Indiana-based American Camp Association, said that the number of parents committing to early enrollment has increased over the past five years, so I am not imagining that this is in fact a growing trend, or an increasingly disturbing sign of the insanity that has become parenting.
WTF?!?!?!? I thought I was an advance planner when I thought a wee bit about New Year's Eve this morning. Then I thought, "Silly me, it's November." It never occurred to me to move my thoughts to a time far beyond the season of freezing temperatures and worry about how my girl will spend her 90 degree days in the summer of 2013.
Then I got mad. Why do they do it now? WHY!?!?! Don't the camp administrators know that I bought the tinsel to decorate my child's music stand for the holiday band concert and that that alone is insane enough for me right now? Do they not care that in this season of city sidewalks, busy sidewalks that there is too much going on to thoughtfully consider whether tennis camp will conflict with the family road trip? In the 6 + months remaining until the start of camp, babies will be born, marriages will end, jobs can change, circumstances will be different, possibly dramatically so. I could even win the lottery. There is a lot unknown over the next 7 months, and that makes scheduling hard, and it makes living in the moment with my tween hard. This is coming from a type A planner personality. I'd love for such advance planning to be easy breezy, but we live in a society that just doesn't operate that way, and frankly, as much as it would please me, I'm not sure that it should.
Children, from toddlers through tweens, have evolving interests. My kid could discover something in a few months that lights her up and sparks a passion in her. If that happens, I may want to put her in another camp but could already be locked in to something that no longer interests her. And I'll probably be too late for a camp she'd love. I realize that I'm not talking about a serious lifetime commitment here, but it does feel a little bit like early decision for college, and I think that's a crazy approach to take with elementary students. If a political candidate had campaigned on a platform of more rational camp scheduling, I would have gone door to door campaigning for her/him. But no one picked up this torch. Sigh. That leaves me to tell myself to stop freaking out, put away my tinsel and decide that if the camp is all full by January 2013, it just isn't meant to be for our family. I've talked before about my fear of missing out on a great opportunity for my child's enrichment. But this is a bit different. This is about taking things in good time, in there being a logical order to the universe, and for me, that logical order means that consideration of summer camp comes well after the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Long, long after that.
Do you agree, or are you a big believer in registering as early as possible?
Previous post: Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush makes a sweet holiday gift
If you liked this, you may also like: I hate getting the park district program guide