After Running ‘Grandma Camp,’ We Need A Vacation!


This weekend I’m going into recovery — not from drug or alcohol abuse, but from the week I’ve had running Grandma Camp.

Grandma Camp takes place whenever there’s a gap in childcare services — like last week’s gap between summer camp and the first day of kindergarten. A plethora of field trips, arts & crafts and nature walks are included, as well as lunch, oftentimes at a “restaurant” such as Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Free pickup and delivery are part of the deal, even if the delivery point changes daily, like to soccer practice or gymnastics. And the schedule is extremely flexible in case mom or dad needs to attend a suddenly scheduled meeting. There are no lab fees, late fees or other hidden charges. In fact, money is handed out freely to children who happen upon gumball machines or fish food dispensers.

If there’s any chance of psychological damage due to sudden schedule changes, embarrassing potty accidents or violent disagreements instigated by the concept of “sharing,” these problems are dealt with swiftly and capably by an experienced professional. In short, the camp is designed to solve every problem posed by today’s young, on-the-go families.

So, clearly, you can see why I need recovery time. Oh, it’s all fun and games in the beginning. Grandma planned this week to perfection, made copies of the schedule for each parent and posted it on the fridge for grandpa (who gazed at it blearily each morning, coffee cup in hand).

Each day began with muffins, chocolate milk and pre-peeled fruit in the car and ended with a healthy snack. Quiet time was scheduled each afternoon, even if naps continued to be elusive, and this blessed time was followed by an activity centered around beads, paints and glitter glue.

Daily off-site excursions included:

Monday: Children’s museum, park

Tuesday: Legoland, library

Wednesday: Swimming, fishing

Thursday: Zoo, nature walk

Friday: Movie, toy shopping

Of course, that’s not how things went at all. On Monday, one kid had a bad cough; the other, the sniffles. On Tuesday, nobody wanted to leave grandma’s living room. On Wednesday, it was raining. On Thursday, the kids stumbled into poison ivy and, on Friday, toy shopping turned into one big free-for-all.

I’m broke, exhausted and itchy. Grandpa has a cough and the sniffles. The kids are already asking when the next Grandma Camp is, and their parents are foisting gratitude and gifts upon us.

Yesterday morning, as soon as I scraped the glitter glue off the counter and tracked down every last bead on the floor, work commenced on a specially-designed Grandma Camp… for grandpa. He deserves it!

Here’s what I have in mind:

Monday: Sleep all day

Tuesday: Doctor’s appointment for his cold

Wednesday: Pick up prescriptions

Thursday: Bagels at the bookstore

Friday: Shopping at Bass Pro Shop

Each day will start without an alarm clock and end with an adult beverage. I posted this new schedule on the fridge and, this morning, I thought I saw grandpa smile.