Over the summer holidays the Men-Children attended camp for a week. It was actually run by their school. As surprising as this may seem during the two-month long holidays that private schools enjoy, clearly someone wiser than myself understands the need for Men-Children and their parents to have a break from each other over this extended period.
The boys had wanted to attend this camp last year (at the end of Year 7). As the camp fell in the first week of January, right when most families have their annual summer holiday together, I was adamant they should not go. My husband agreed. And so they didn’t. Clearly these were signs of a mother desperate to retain a sense of control, and to hang onto the last remnants of family holidays as they slowly dissipated before her eyes.
This year the boys ended up on camp almost by mistake. When we initially signed the paperwork it was for the senior camp in December, which I thought was a great idea as they have the entire month to do not much in my view. A great way to fill in time and keep them off the streets quite frankly. I much preferred primary school when they finished four days before Christmas.
The school contacted Mother of a Man-Child to confirm their attendance and the dates – yes in the first week of January. Right in the middle of a holiday with their cousin from interstate and their grandfather, during our last stay at the family beach house (now sold). Whilst my immediate response was “absolutely not”, I then gave consideration to the reasons we might let them go (apart from the fact that they wanted to). In the end, common sense prevailed. I figured that after a week with us at the beach, complaining that “it’s BORING, why can’t we have a house at Portsea, NONE of our friends are here, blah, blah” we would be more than happy to see them head off for five days and enjoy some respite from them. Obviously there’s no doubt the feeling was reciprocal!!!
And yes for those who are thinking what spoilt children, even having a beach house to go to during summer, when it costs most families an arm and a leg to rent a beach house from the orthodontist you’ve made rich during the year whilst paying for Man-Childs teeth to be perfect, I agree. And certainly they don’t appreciate our little sleepy hollow, complete with dirt roads and a general store, and no pub at all to attract feral young adults or Bogans. It’s parent heaven – but clearly not teen heaven.
So off they went to camp, with much excitement and anticipation. My excitement at five days of peace, theirs at five days of no nagging mother, being with mates, access to every water sport imaginable, and not one scrap of hygiene to worry about during the time. Alas no amount of reminding Man-Child II to take his toothbrush worked. He didn’t! As he said “Who cares if you don’t brush your teeth or shower for five days – that’s what we do on every school camp.” I’ll tell you who cares – me, and the orthodontist, that’s who. Gross!
The upshot – my Men-Children had a great time at camp. They came back tanned (with the mandatory sun burnt noses), looked like they’d grown two inches whilst away and developed yet more manly muscles, and were bursting with tales of what went on. Not surprisingly most of these they were keen to share with their father not me (yep, I am getting used to this idea, very, very slowly).
They had been water-skiing, sailing, donut-ing, surfing, swimming and everything in between. As the camp was run by Year 12 boys, and the attending boys are heading into Year 9, it also served as an “initiation” rite of sorts, with lots of boys pranks naturally. Man-Child I was involved in one where he and a mate had to walk through the local supermarket dressed as girls. Man-Child II proudly showed a video on his phone of the destruction of the camp mascot (a frog), to much hilarity. (No live animals were harmed).
For my boys, this was just the sort of boisterous, boys-to-men stuff they like. And probably just what they needed after living with their “psycho” mother all year. No doubt it will be a unanimous decision to attend camp again next year. 🙂