No backup plan for a summer without kids | Living with Gleigh

Summer has broadsided me. Usually after spring break in April, I’m wondering why school is still going on. This year isn’t any different and it’s been propagated by the fact that the weather’s been nice enough to hang my laundry outside since April.

So here I sit this fine Monday morning, trying to digest the reality that both my daughters are home and still sleeping. I’m not prepared to manage their schedules this summer. I’m having a rough time managing my own schedule, with projects I want to get done inside and out. Or maybe I’m just in denial about what this summer will look like.

My husband and I will probably be going to car shows and camping without our children this year. My youngest is going to London for a week with classmates and a couple teachers and our main camping/car show events are on either end of her trip, so she’ll miss them. The other daughter needs to get a job to earn money for expenses at college.

My initial reaction, when I figured out I booked our summer camping the days my youngest leaves and returns, was to cancel them.

Canceling camping reservations is expensive. I don’t even understand the cancelation policy because it’s somewhat convoluted. Something about a 60 percent return on the days the wind is blowing northeast, spring tides are present and the moon is waxing crescent.

For whatever reason, even though they know they’ll fill my empty spot immediately, canceling reservations at a state park is costly. I have had to cancel camping trips in the past because of my daughter’s schedules, but neither of them was driving at the time.

Taking my daughter to the airport isn’t a big deal on the day we leave. If the flight is later than we need it to be, we can take her to her friend’s, who is going too, and their mother will take them all.

Coming home is a different story. We leave again the day she returns and my daughter doesn’t want to come home from London, after being gone for eight days, and jump in the RV for a five-day camping trip. Go figure.

She’ll probably sleep for five days anyway, so I guess it’s not a big deal. Still, I can’t believe she doesn’t want to be with her mother. Life changes, like camping without your children, should be eased into more slowly. I thought when I approached this time in my life, I’d just be down to one child, not none.

It’s not just their schedules that are messing up my reality, but their lack of concern for my angst about them growing up. I really dislike Fourth of July; the holiday when otherwise normally sane people get their pyromaniac on. I am frazzled by the end of the day.

This year, my husband and I are getting out of town, to a state park, where fireworks are not allowed. In spite of this, my daughters have decided to go to friends’ houses, totally disregarding my fragile state of mind. The problem with raising kids is they get opinions and likes of their own. That’s what we get for encouraging independence by allowing them to drive and providing cars.

Regardless, I am going. My nerves and my dog’s nerves depend on it. And it will be the first time camping without the kids, ever. We never just camped for fun before we had kids; we usually only camped during car show events.

There will be no car show to entertain my husband, just he and I, alone, without children. I hope it works out, because I don’t have a backup plan.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is still has no backup plan. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 28
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates