I never went to sleepaway camp. Nor did my husband. And though each spring and summer our daughters talk vaguely about going, "for a couple of weeks next year," we don’t believe them. So the experience of waving our offspring goodbye as they drive north, south or east will probably remain more foreign to us than a trip to Europe. With the girls at home, my parenting becomes more concentrated in the months of July and August than at any other time of the year. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have that time completely to myself, and in an attempt to live vicariously, I turned to Margie Fox, Co-President of the PR firm, Maloney & Fox , whose ten-year-old daughter, Isabelle annually takes the full seven-week leave. This is what Margie had to report:
"Last Saturday she got on the bus Gus and headed north.
Forty-nine days of old-time camp fun for my daughter. Forty-nine days without her and with only three phone calls and one long visiting day in between day one and the bus trip home. On Saturday as I wiped my eyes behind my cheap, oversized street sunglasses, I thought how will I ever get through forty-nine days without the little love of my life. I moped all day, watched a marathon of Real Housewives and drank wine until super maudlin had officially set in. And then it was Sunday. As I lolled in bed reading the paper, plugged into all-Michael Jackson TV I felt the cloud of missing and sadness give way to excitement and possibility. This year I decided to forgo the mild angst I felt last year for being happy about my summer of guilty pleasures, romance rekindling and adult swim. A special thanks to one very talented psychotherapist for imparting this gift for the '09 season . But really, wouldn’t I be a world-class idiot not to be embracing this time-especially knowing that my kid is ensconced in safe, fun-central having the time of her life?
Not wanting to appear idiotic, I’ve cannon-balled into the deep end. So far I’ve already seen R-rated movies (Lord love The Hangover and Bradley Cooper) without spending a fortune on babysitters and cab fare home. I’ve spent serious time at the makeup counter sorting out serious mascara options and partied hard with hundreds of beautiful and joyous gay men and women in a pride celebration to be proud of. I’ve had thoughts of taking walks, or going to the gym since I can now leave my house and not leave someone unattended. It might even happen because it can. I’ve cavalierly deleted Hannah, Drake and Carly from the DVR lineup and left space for everything Bravo is brave enough to offer up. I’ve eaten in bed (because if a crumb falls onto the duvet and a kid is not there to bear witness, did the crumb really fall at all?). In short, I’ve let walking the talk temporarily fall to the wayside and sidled in for some Seann Williams Scott-style role modeling.
Last summer, my first summer with seven weeks to spare, I found out how much I really enjoy my husband as partner and travelling companion as opposed to my co-parenting conspirator (thank God). I was also reminded of the splendors of sex with open doors and without fear of possible intrusion at any moment. This year I am going to a hotel with a No-Kids Under the Age of 16 policy and am expecting them to enforce it with rigor. There is a lot also to be said for date night five nights a week (let’s not push it). I will spend my 40-some odd days left reconnecting with girlfriends and swilling stiff summer cocktails. Often. Let’s face it, quality time together is not really the time after drop off, before work, before pick-up or after school or standing on a sideline or in a sweaty pool.
During the year, I totally forget how much I like to read. My Kindle is fully loaded for our upcoming trip to Greece and I actually expect to get through it all. And I don’t feel at all bad about leaving the wonderful Wimpy Kid series untouched until September.
There is nothing I like better than being Isabelle’s mom. But that sure doesn’t mean that I can’t love the hell out of being a wife, friend, reader, doer, dancer and boss. I do a pretty good job of juggling all that while the kid is home. But just wait to you see how I rock the next 46 days.
Did I mention I am thinking about going to the gym?"
Margie Fox won’t be around to read her words when they appear on Your Comeback. She’s already left for Greece… ?? ????? ??? ouzo, Margie!
Photograph of Margie and Isabelle courtesy of Margie Fox.