Michelle Martin

What season is it?

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

What are you doing on, say, July 10?

It’s a Monday, if that helps.

I expect I’ll be working that day, although I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing. But for the first time in I don’t know how many years, we’re in March, and I’m not quite sure what my kids will be doing.

The older two, of course, are adults. What they are doing is not my problem, not even my business, I suppose, if they don’t want to tell me. (Spoiler: I’m pretty sure they’ll tell me.)

Teresa, though, at 13, has aged out of the need for constant, every-minute-of-the-day supervision, and, therefore, day-camp-as-day-care.

That doesn’t mean that she won’t have anything to do all summer. We’ve been talking about the kinds of camps she might want to do. Video production? Cooking? Music? Improv?

Now that Teresa is a teenager, we also have to work with her to figure out what she is willing to sign up for.

You name it, it’s available somewhere in the Chicago area. But not always on a workable schedule or at a price that, on an hourly basis, works out to be less than college tuition. And the most popular camps fill up almost immediately.

At least it’s not as bad as having two kids needing day camp at the same time, when they are different ages and have different interests, having to cobble together a schedule of baseball this week, hockey that week, and how am I going to pick up one from the rink and one from theater camp when they let out at the same time but not — definitely not — at the same place?

Or finding things to do in the early weeks of summer, before camps start, or the late weeks of summer, after camps end.

There have been summers that have convinced me that maybe I could have had a career in logistics. It’s definitely different from my middle school years, which included a lot of sleeping late, trips to the pool and biking to friends’ houses.

Many Catholic schools offer a variety of camps, and we’ve been lucky to find some high school camps for middle schoolers that have worked out well. For them, I am grateful.

Meanwhile, for the parents who are juggling multiple camps for multiple kids, maybe you can think of it as a perennial Lenten penance? As for those who find setting up summer plans to be a perennial Lenten penance, you have my solidarity. Prayers up for a safe and fun summer for everyone. Even those making the schedule.


  • family life