Some of my worst childhood memories stem from Summer Fun. Don’t get your panties in a bunch; this is not a rant against parents who send their kids off to do organized activities with other children. I’m simply stating a fact: I hated Summer Fun. And so did my little brother.
I’m pretty sure the reason is that my brother and I were really sheltered as little kids. We went to a small private school, weren’t allowed to play in the street with other kids, couldn’t stay up past 7 p.m., were reprimanded for talking pidgin, didn’t swear, had no clue what “oofing” meant and never, ever, had hanabuddah noses (at least while Mom was in wiping distance with a tissue). Therefore, being thrown into a public summer program full of kids that not only knew each other, but also several creative swear words and tons of horror stories (I’m still creeped out by Bloody Mary), felt like having a church picnic at Halawa.
Yes, my brother and I are panties.
Our Summer Fun experience didn’t last long. We cried and hung on to Mom’s apron strings and she let us stay home with her for the rest of our vacation. But my kids aren’t going to have the liberty of staying home this summer, tears or not, because Mom’s gotta work. And this bothers me.
My son loves his daycare provider. In fact, I think he’ll be crushed when it comes time to break it to him that she’s not a blood relation. But then again, she spends more time raising him than I and with all of the solid Hawaiian values she instills in him he will understand (more than I do) that hanai is family, too. But, as a mom, I worry that when he’s grown he’ll resent the fact that Mommy wasn’t there to put him down for a nap, make his lunch and clean his boo-boos.
My daughter gets out of school this week and she’ll be spending the bulk of summer vacation with my mom. Not that she’s complaining—my mom’s house is like Disneyland to her—but still… I feel like I’m screwing my kids over.
We all know that here in Hawai‘i, families have to work together to make it. It’s a different time, with more financial burdens than the days when I was growing up and my mom stayed home with us. I need an income. But lately, I’ve been asking myself, “at what expense?”
The other day my daughter said, “Can you pick me up from school? Grandmas and grandpas aren’t supposed to.”
I didn’t point out that she’s wrong. I wanted to tell her that lots of grandmas and grandpas pick up kids from school because their moms and dads are working, but it wouldn’t have mattered because in her eyes, they don’t. The majority of her classmates are picked up by their parents. How they manage this, I have no idea.
On the other hand, I wonder if staying home with the peeps would even be in their best interest. I’m not a patient person and don’t think that I’m up for a Mom-of-the-Year award anytime soon. In fact, sometimes I’m so overwhelmed and tired after a day in the office that I’m downright mean. Which makes me feel crappy and my kids sad.
I guess it comes down to raising children who feel secure and loved while instilling in them the importance of sacrificing things for the greater good of the family. If someone’s figured out how to do this, please let me know.
Starr Begley has a bad cough, headache, sore ears and has moved up another size in jeans. MTW