Family Life


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Raising Davis: Business As Usual

Working mom Meghan Bradley Bodden laments that summer doesn’t mean an end to packed lunches for her son.

School’s out! You can see the excitement in the kids’ faces and the expectation of long sunny days and non stop fun.
Not on my face. I look at my summer calendar and see deadlines, work-back schedules and unmet budgets. Sigh.
I remember how it felt, as a kid, so on some level, I can share in Davis’ excitement. I also remember that I went to day camp, every day, because my mom worked. For the most part, I liked the camp, but I was also jealous of my friends who got to stay home and just go outside to play.
Davis has been enrolled in summer soccer camp and he is really pumped about it. I hope that he will make new friends and like his camp coaches. The summer program includes soccer practice and games in the morning and swimming and free play in the afternoon. It is a nice balance of organized sports mixed with a couple of hours of “go nuts”.
It is a good program. However, I have pangs of guilt knowing that he is going to have to continue a regular routine, just as he has all school year, and carry along those dreaded packed lunches! My five-year-old has been given a quick course on sunscreen 101 and has to remember to wear his hat and re-apply his own sunscreen after swimming. I feel badly that it is business as usual for him so I have to work at not imposing these feelings on Davis. He is different than me.
Davis loves routine. He enjoys eating packed lunches much more than I enjoy making them. He is very outgoing and will likely have a great time. I was shy and found making friends at camp hard. He does tell me that he was sometimes the last guy to get picked for his soccer games at school. I asked if this bothered him and he said “no, the other guys are just better than me.” He doesn’t attach himself to his ability to play the game better or worse than others. It just is what it is.
I remember being last picked and it didn’t bounce off me quite that easily. It played on my self-esteem. He takes it in stride because, to him, it is logical that the best players get picked first. That’s why he will fare better than I did at camp.
Still, I struggle with those summer expectations I see in Davis’ eyes because I filter them through my own childhood memories. What if, for Davis, all that excitement and expectation is not fulfilled by soccer camp?
So, Paul and I are taking a week off to plan some summer family trips. In the past, we have taken the kids to Mont Tremblant, Muskoka and Cedar Point in Ohio. This year, with funds a little tighter, we have set aside a week of daily excursions. We hope to have our day at the beach, a day at Wonderland and a couple of days to just stay home and play by the pool!
I am also planning to take a few extra days here and there off work to do one-on-one trips with Davis. I hope to break up the monotony of day camp and insert a bit of summer magic. It’s not just for him, but for me, too, because I also get that excited feeling when the school bell rings for the last time. I want to have fun in the sun, too!
Summer for this family will be a mix of work, play and hopefully a little magic.

Published in June, 2011.

a man carrying two children

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