Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Top Ten: The boys are back in town.

The boys are back in town from Camp Papa. They had an amazing time-- as you saw from their postcards-- but for all who've ever traveled anywhere . . . you know how good it is to be back in your own home and sleeping in your own bed.

People asked me a lot of questions about Camp Papa. A whole lot of questions.


Today I bring you:


You got questions? I got answers.

Wrote a little top ten about it. . . . like to hear it? Here it go!


Q:  "Soooo. . . . let me get this straight. . . .your father takes your two boys. . . . . .for two to four weeks. . . .weeks! . . . .all the way in California. . . .every single summer? Say it ain't so!

A:  Yes, you have it straight and yes, it is so. Oh and in case you're wondering how they get there and back? One of the legs of the trip even involves Papa flying with them one way and Shugsie (my mom) flying with them the other.


Q:  "Uuuuhhhh. . .if you don't mind me asking. . . uuuhhhh. . .like. . .how old IS your dad anyway?"

A:  Sixty eight. But a young sixty-eight.


Q:  "Aren't you sad? Don't you MISS them? How can you be away from your children for that long?"

A:  Sad? Uuuhhh, yeah. . . that's a "no." Miss them? Yes, we miss them. But it turns out that if your kids are away from you with someone that you totally trust and if you let them out of your sight early on, it's a lot less traumatic than you'd think. Lots of folks freak out at the thought of even an overnight away from their children. Fortunately for us, our parents have stepped in from as early as we can remember. Also. . . just ask your family. . . back in the day many, many families sent their kids to their grandparents or family members in the summer. So look at it like this. . .we're just kicking it old school.


Q:  "Like. . . what does your father DO all day with them?"

A:  Exponentially more than their mother does with them. But specifically he does the following:
  • takes them to the beach.
  • takes them to the pool.
  • practices reading and writing.
  • takes them to visit family and friends.
  • takes them to amusement parks.
  • buys them identical clothes.
  • takes them to the 'Old Town Buffet' which is now "our favorite restaurant, Mom."
  • watches them sleep
  • snaps pictures of them
  • takes them with him to exercise at the track
  • frets the time with them coming to an end
  • lets them eat animal crackers and fruit like crazy.
  • teaches them new skills
  • potty trains them when indicated
  • anything else I put on the list of things I want them to come back knowing how to do. 


Q:  "Like. . . .what do you and Harry DO with yourselves while they're away all that time?"

A:  We reconnect as a couple. We do things with spontaneity. We reconnect with friends. We go for walks through our neighborhood. We have a second cup of coffee in the morning. We hold hands. We do whatever we want without plans. Like ride roller coasters. And hang out in a swanky lounge listening to a deejay spinning thumping beats. We people watch. We laugh out loud. We stay up late. We sleep in. We spoon. We fall in love again. Also. . . .We marvel at how neat our home is. We sit side by side and watch HBO television shows with lots of profanity and humor that's inappropriate for children. We open bottles of wine on weekdays. And yeah. Of course we talk about our kids and work long hours on some days. But during that time that they're away, we especially do things that remind us that we are not just parents. I am a woman. Harry is a man. And we are a couple. . .a couple with kids, yes. But also two people who still like each other as friends, are still attracted to each other as partners, but who are happy to have a home that is usually filled with the laughter of our children.


Q:  "Do you guys go away on a trip while they're away?"

A:  Not usually. Being home without the demands of pick ups and drop offs is more relaxing than you'd imagine.  Most of the time we re-explore Atlanta and have some local stay-cations. But Harry does usually slip away to spend a little time with his mother in Ohio. At which point I sleep spread eagle in our California King-sized bed with a mask on.

Not. Even. Kidding.


Q:  "Doesn't your dad get tired? That sounds SO exhausting!"

A:  I have no idea how but no he doesn't. He loves every second of it and savors it to the last second. (And yes, he's crazy. I know you were thinking that question, too.)


Q:  "How do the kids feel about it? Are they . . .like . . .happy to go or super-homesick?"

A:  This was their fifth year going so they are delighted to go. Like I said before. . . the earlier you start allowing them a little time away from you (and you away from them) the easier it is for them and you. Isaiah and Zachary now see Camp Papa as a natural part of their lives and an expected part of their summer.

Now. Papa is definitely more stern than Mommy, so that initially took some getting used to. He doesn't do a whole lot of repeating himself with children. But it doesn't take long for them to figure out how to do what they're supposed to do. I am always amazed at how excellent their listening ears remain fastened on when they first return!


Q:  "How did this arrangement come about? How did you convince your dad to do this--and how did you get your spouse to be agreeable to so much time away?"

A:  I once had a medical meeting in California when Isaiah was like twenty months and Zachary was five months or so. My dad convinced me to bring them along and insisted that he would keep them in L.A. while I was in San Diego at the conference. When I got back, the dude had the bottles lined up in a row drying, food prepped and organized and had even called someone to borrow an "exersaucer" playground for Zachary. Nuts! The following summer he petitioned for more time and we obliged. (So nobody had to "convince" him.) We worked our way up to four weeks. And Harry has a great relationship with my dad but also knew how important it was to me for them to have his influence. I continue to be thankful for that every single day.


Q:  "Can my kids come next year?"

A:  You'll have to talk to Papa about that one. But last I heard there was a waiting list.

Bonus question:

"Does Papa cry when they leave him?"

Bonus answer:

Does he cry? 

Every. Single. Time.

Happy Wednesday--again.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . .Thin Lizzy sings the song looping in my head all day. ..


  1. I was wondering if the kids were back since there was no Tuesday post and you had been on a ROLL! "Camp Grammy" will be up in VA for us, and I can't wait to start.

    1. Awww, Allison! Thanks for noticing my "roll". . .ha ha. I'm so glad that Camp Grammy is coming up! Sounds awesome!!!

      A friend gave me a great idea for my next post. . .stay tuned. . . .:)

  2. What an extraordinary family you have -- every single one of you! I loved hearing about this -- I'm a bit envious of it all!

    1. I love the camp posts that you share of your boys, Elizabeth! Lacrosse camp and all sorts of good times seem to be going on out there. We all have our little slices of special, right? Love that I always get to read about yours. :)

  3. And you've made me cry.
    This is how it's supposed to be. Grandparents completely in love with grandkids. It all works out so beautifully when there is love like this throughout the family.
    It's just good for everyone.

    1. You and Bop are experts on loving grandkids. Do you know that my favorite picture ever from your blog was one of Owen and his Bop "fishing" off of the side of the porch in your yard? So much love in that. So very much. I also loved the hide and seek from I think a year ago when Owen was hiding in the closet from you. You rock.

  4. I love that song and I too have had it in my mind this week. Hubs is a teacher and every summer he takes our 3 boys to FL to hang out with his own 3 brothers and teach our boys to surf, etc. I -- no joke-- wait 51 weeks a year for my week of peace and quiet during which I don't need to go to the grocery store for that gallon of milk each day or have dinner prepared--I do one load of my wash and ditto on dishwasher--and watch whatever shows I want and work in peace. I think after all these years of marriage I can say that I enjoy Hubs being gone that week too. And then he calls me four times a day when he is gone so there is that.

    1. I hope you have a sleep mask from Brookstone! Ha ha ha. There is nothing like that empty house spread eagle sleeping in bed. . . .whew mama!

      That trip sounds awesome!

  5. You have a really great situation going on there. Great for your father and for you. But the ones who benefit the most are your boys. They will have those wonderful summer memories for the rest of their lives.

  6. My one out of town granddaughter has come for two months in the summer for 5 years. She's 11 now. She moves around between our house and my 4 daughter's houses so she gets to spend some time with us and lots of time with her cousins. Must admit I am not as kid focused as your dad. We play a lot of games (she usually beats me) and read a lot.

    1. No one is as kid focused as that dude. Not even me and their my own children. . .ha ha ha. That sounds like a great time for your granddaughter. Lucky her.

  7. I just dropped my mom and Dad off at the airport Home/Cali bound. Typically, I start crying before curbside, then Dad - every single time. I knew he wasn't the only one. :)

    They've agreed to start their own Camp Cali. I'm sharing this post with them!

  8. Another awesome post...reminiscent of my own childhood when I spent many a summer with grandparents who were as fun as "Camp Papa" sounds. These days I just miss them terribly at times, but it's fun to live vicariously through your posts and remember the good times.

    1. Isn't it a blessing to have such rich memories, though? I hope my boys remember all of the good times of their childhood in high definition. I really do.

  9. Replies
    1. Yahoooo! I will be SO all over them, too. Looking at going in October. . .you may have to email me the real scoop because seriously, I know of no family more Disney-licious than Team Copponex!

  10. I run a camp "Uncle Doctor Roy" during the summers, my nephews come to St. Louis all the way from Houston! Unfortunately, with things going slow in lab I had to skip this summer, but I traded in my coupe for a SUV and am ready and waiting for Camp UDR 2013!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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