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Sunday, July 26, 2015

There has been much excitement this week. On Saturday, the boys went camping.

Or “camping,” given that it’s an overnight in a very nice camper on the property of good family friends, with the house barely 10 steps away. Still. For them, it’s camping.

As you read this, perhaps, they’re downing a good breakfast, or chattering at their grandparents, or already running around the property playing baseball or tag or some strange game they’ve made up in their own heads.

I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be sleeping.

Right. My husband and I won’t be there. We’ll have happily turned the responsibility over to my parents for 24-28 hours or so and returned to “Buffalo.” (The city and all the ‘burbs are “Buffalo” to my Cattaraugus County hometown.) We’ll have a nice dinner at a restaurant where we wouldn’t take the kids, maybe visit a bookstore (livin’ it up!), see a movie (“Jurassic World,” I think) and actually get a decent night’s sleep without being interrupted by small boys who decide they’re starving at 3 a.m. (This has happened.)

And I don’t feel guilty about it at all.

I didn’t always feel that way. In fact, I remember one particular anniversary getaway when my somewhat primitive cell phone rang unexpectedly (back when cell phone were for emergencies and not the general mode of communication). We frantically tried to figure out who it was and call back – after all, it could only be some sort of huge catastrophe with the kids, right?

It was about a fantasy football trade.

I still give that friend crap about this from time to time.

There were times I called constantly, just to check up. Were they eating? (Always, yes.) Were they upset we weren’t there? (Always, no.) Were they having fun? Did they miss us? Did my folks remember to take the lengthy list of emergency numbers I’d assembled?

As a newer parent, it didn’t seem right to me to just hand my children off to someone else. Parenthood was a solemn responsibility, right? Wasn’t I failing them?

My mom set me straight on that one.

“You love your kids,” she said. “And you’ll love ‘em more after you get a break from them.”

She’s right.

We’re fortunate that my folks are up to the challenge of taking on our hooligans for a few weekends a year. We’re even more fortunate that they enjoy it. I’m not sure who was looking forward to this camping excursion more, as a matter of fact.

And a break does sound wonderful. The endless cycle of work and responsibility gets to you a bit. We need this.

I guarantee that at some point Saturday night, my husband and I will look at each other and agree that we miss the little demons. It’s anyone’s guess if they miss us. There are s’mores to make and games to play, after all.

They’re on an adventure.

And that’s a good thing.

***

The Niagara County Fair opens Aug. 5 at the fairgrounds, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport. It runs until Aug. 9. Hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 5 to 8 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 9. Tickets are $5 a day Aug. 5 to 8 and $3 per person or $10 per carload Aug. 9. (A weekly pass is $18.)

We took the boys last year and they had a ball meeting animals (and the 4-H participants who care for them), riding a few rides, dancing to musical performances, learning how to make balloon animals and guzzling milkshakes from the Milk Bar.

This is what a fair should be.

For more information, visit cceniagaracounty.org/mark-your-calendar.

+Jill Keppeler is forever grateful for her kids’ wonderful grandparents. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler or email her at jillmkeppeler@msn.com.



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