My Lil’ Camper

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Andrea Goto

I have no luck with summer camps.  Growing up, I attended two.  The first was a “math camp” where the instructors tried (and failed) to make math fun by using it in game-like situations.  If you want to make something completely un-fun for a 10-year-old, just add math to the equation. It took years to recover from the fear of abandonment I harbored from my mother handing me over to the math magicians, who held me captive for what should’ve been the best days of my summer. 

The second was a volleyball camp I voluntarily attended when I was 16.  I stayed in a dorm 8 hours from my hometown, but begged my parents to camp nearby, just in case I needed them.  I did.  At my request, they showed up to cheer me on during every end-of-day scrimmage, and after the last spike, I fought the urge to leave with them.  See, with my parents, I knew what to expect.  I knew they had my best interests at heart.  I knew they weren’t going to assault me with arithmetic or chastise me from missing a block.

image

The Endless Summer

What did I do with all that ample time on my hands during the summers of my youth?  I played with my sister.  We ate frozen pizzas covered with dried up cubes of pepperoni in the backyard under a blanket we fashioned into a fort.  We stood gigantic inner tubes on end and rode them like bucking broncos.  Mom filled a bucket with water and declared it our “pool.”  It wasn’t that Mom could afford not to work—she just couldn’t afford to pay for childcare or camp for two children. But Dad and Mom were forced to scrape by on minimum-wage jobs the summer the paper mill went on strike, and consequently it was the only summer I spend away from home.  A friend of my parents offered to watch my sister and me.  For two months she abused us emotionally and physically.  When the strike was over, I ran into my mom’s arms and didn’t leave her grasp until I moved away for college.  It would be years later before she understood why.

Projection Parenting

So when I asked my 6-year-old daughter if she wanted to go to camp this summer and she replied with a firm, “No,” I didn’t push it.  Her friends tried to convince her of the fun they were having swimming, rope climbing and horseback riding, but my daughter would have nothing to do with it.  And frankly, neither would I.  I believe those kids are having a grand time making lifelong friends and learning new skills.  I also believe that my child, like me, would be the kid looking longingly out the window for 6 hours, waiting for my car to pull up and whisk her back to the world that she feels most safe and comfortable in. 

Am I projecting some of my own fears and insecurities?  Probably.  Am I okay with that?  Absolutely.  She’s 6.

The Summertime Equation Solved

Luckily, my husband and I have flexible supervisors who allow us to arrange our work schedules so we can pass our daughter between us like a baton during these summer months.  And I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  We ride bikes.  We play tennis.  We upgraded from the bucket of my childhood and bought an inflatable pool.  One day, Ava’s friend came over to swim.  She took one look at the pool and said with marked disappointment, “I though you said you had a pool.”  Confused, Ava replied, “We do.”  (The same response I’d give my friends who questioned my swimming bucket.) 

And every night my daughter, sun kissed, exhausted and safe in my arms, asks how much longer before summer is over because she never wants it to end.  I couldn’t agree more.

If you’re lucky enough to have your school-age children breathing down your neck at 7:15 a.m. asking, “What’re we doing today?!”  Don’t waste a moment wishing for the speedy return of school.  Cherish these summer months together.  I guarantee they will.

Andrea Goto swore that she would not let her child watch SpongeBob, take ballet, or consume food with Red Dye #40. Of course, that all changed when her daughter was actually born. Five years later, Andrea blogs about her revised approach to childrearing, which she likes to call Real-World Parenting. Her “technique” is based on commonsense and topped with a big dose of humor. Andrea is a regular contributor to PaulaDeen.com.
Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Andrea Goto.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

  • Jamie’s Salad with Maple Red Wine Vinaigrette Jamie’s Salad with Maple Red Wine Vinaigrette
    43211
    View Now
  • The Deen Bros. Lighter Sweet Orange and Blueberry Cornbread The Deen Bros. Lighter Sweet Orange and Blueberry Cornbread
    View Now
  • Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter
    54321
    View Now
  • Becky Polk’s Boiled Peanuts Becky Polk’s Boiled Peanuts
    43211
    View Now

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm