Sleep Away Camp For A Child Is Just A Second Honeymoon for Us

By  | 


And so begins the annual countdown to our second honeymoon: In just 19 days my daughter will leave for sleep away camp and for 12 days my husband and I will return to our pre-parenting life where no one asks us for money or a ride to friend’s house. No one complains that they are bored, or tells us they just put $100 worth of Pokemon cards in our Amazon cart just in case we wanted to buy them a present. We will not be forced to listen to Taylor Swift or Nick Jonas when we drive in the car, and no one will tell me that they are hungry but there is “nothing good” to eat.

Don’t get me wrong. The minute we get in our car and drive away from camp, I will start crying and obsessing over whether we packed enough clothes or gave her enough spending money, sunblock and bug spray to make it through the 12 days.  I will worry about whether she likes the girls in her cabin and the food in the dining hall.

That is until…we stop for dinner and my husband and I have an uninterrupted 2-hour conversation, and I start to relax and remember that for the next 12 days our house will be an oasis of quiet adulthood, where we can read the newspaper, linger over our coffee and listen to music in the morning instead some inane TV show about teen angst. At night we can have candlelit dinners that take more than 10 minutes to devour and certainly more than 30 minutes to make. And we won’t have to wait until our daughter visits a friend or goes to bed to have sex.

We can go to a major league baseball game or a concert, knowing our daughter isn’t going to text us in the middle of it all to ask when we are coming home. And while we usually bring our daughter to baseball games, it’s more fun to buy the $5 seats and hang out in the bar overlooking the field instead of spending $50 a seat when we go as a family. It also means I don’t have to be self-conscious about having a second or third beer in front of my daughter.

Not having to drop my daughter off at camp in the morning means my morning routine is less chaotic. There is no one to herd out the door and no one I need to remind to eat their breakfast and put on their sunblock.  Not having to pick her up from camp in the afternoon gives me time to sneak in a massage or facial or happy hour with a friend, or sometimes all three.

But, in between all this me time, I will be obsessively checking the camp’s website, looking for photos of her enjoying herself. I will fret if she doesn’t call us at on the designated day to call home. I will send her a postcard each day while we are apart.  And I will be bummed when I find nothing in our mailbox from her even though I sent her to camp with 12 self-addressed stamped envelopes.

Maybe next time I should just write 12 notes to myself – four that say, “Mom, today was OK,” four that say, “Mom, today was good,” and four that say, “Mom, today was the best” – and ask her pick the most appropriate one for each day, sign and mail it.

On the drive to pick our daughter up from camp, my husband and I will be excited to see our daughter and hear all about her adventures but also be wistful that our time alone has ended. And as we drive onto the camp property, we will remind each other that our next second honeymoon is only 353 days away.

(Photo: Getty Images)