We're crossing a new frontier at the K.Line household: My baby (aka the 9-year old) will leave for sleep away camp at the end of this week. She'll be away for 13 glorious days and nights, the first 8 of which I'll spend at home on "staycation" (don't you loathe how overused this word is??).
This has been a long time in coming, arguably - um - 9 years, but I've worked particularly proactively over the last year to encourage M, for her sake and mine, to branch out and live freely at art camp. At first, she wasn't so sure. The idea of being in the beauty of nature surrounded by a zillion kids of her own age with swimming was appealing. But the thought of going to a new place without parents made her nervous. The deal breaker (assisted by burgeoning maturity over the last year of school) was learning that, for 2 weeks, she'd have a good shot at scoring more than one dessert after dinner and avoiding showers - plus no parental nagging! That, I'm happy to say, cinched it entirely.
Many parent bloggers (the mommy bloggers and the rest of us who just happen to blog and have kids) have posted recently about their melancholy feelings re: the encroaching maturity of their tiny tots. This, my friends, is not the tale you'll hear from me. I could not be more thrilled about M's independence, about her urge to find freedom in new experience, about the freakin' time away from parenting that I will enjoy while she's away enjoying camp.
This is the longest in a decade (let's include the joy of pregnancy for the purposes of this post) that I'll have gone without being responsible for the care and feeding and watering and nagging of my precious child. I don't have parents close by who can help me on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis. My in laws are of no assistance whatsoever. I have no siblings close by - no family of any sort. All of my parent help, such as it is, comes from friends who are already overscheduled by their own parenting or busy careers or general life responsibilities. Oh, and that for which I pay: daycare and (now) camp.
It ain't cheap - let me tell you - but what price freedom?
Here's the kicker. I've been dreaming and planning and bitching and preparing and renovating for months now to position myself to enjoy this staycation in my beautiful garden with fine food and great booze in style. I went to critical lengths to get the garden reno done. I've spent money I should save (arguably) to make the back yard fab-u-lous. Lord knows, between the steep costs of camp and the garden there is no money to go on hols elsewhere. The weather, heretofore hideous, seems to be cooperating now.
But freakin' bloody hell, the city has chosen this week to start a garbage strike (the last one - deeply etched into my memory - lasted 16 hideous days) as has the union that runs the LCBO (the main licensing body for alcohol in this province). You got it peeps - my brief reprieve is threatened by stench (you know I live downtown) and sobriety. Ah, that's a one-two punch.
Let's look at the bright side: I've stocked up on some wine and a couple of LCBO outlets will be run by management till the strike resolves (you can bet they'll be defiant picket crossing there!). I'm going to assume that my lovely neighbours and those who live across the alley behind my backyard - plus all the random people in the neighbourhood who have access to that alley - will opt not to garbage dump anywhere near my beautiful urban oasis. I am optimistic. After all that's what the city streets and parks are for. (Sorry, brief relapse of cynicism.)
I'm going to imagine that LCBO management will keep restaurants stocked and/or they don't go dry in the first week of the strike (how could they) which means, at least, that I'll still enjoy some lovely lunches and dinners out - if not on patios next to heaps of garbage.
I'm going to have a good opportunity to confront my dependencies and cultivate bramacharya.
I am grateful for all the things I do have and the time off. I'm going to learn just how much freedom is a matter of attitude.
Wish me luck. Okay?
Update: The LCBO strike was resolved at the 11th hour! Seriously. And, according to the news reports, there is practically no wine on the shelves anywhere today. Well, not so clean and not so sober...