Thoughts on books, family, and life in one impressive package.

When I first got pregnant, my husband and I developed a game plan for parenthood. This plan involved the usual items – raising our children to be Catholic, emphasizing the importance of reading and school in general, letting the children try any sport or activity in which they express an interest – and some not so usual plans – opting not to become a stay-at-home parent, the need to foster a close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. I feel we have been successful in all of these things, especially regarding my children’s relationship with both sets of grandparents.

One of the best things about summer vacation is the summer camps. I know that I was fortunate enough to attend a camp on archaeology, one on architecture, band camp, volleyball camp and a myriad of others throughout my childhood. As a working mother, I regret that my children will not have the same opportunities to attend summer camps, as I did, only because around here, various locations offer summer camps right smack-dab in the middle of the day (10:30 AM to 2 PM does me no good, camp directors), and I work too far from home to be able to flit back and forth. However, my husband and I discovered an alternative that resolves the issue of attending summer camps as well as fits into our general scheme of building a close-knit relationship with grandparents. The trick is vacations to their grandparents.

These are no ordinary trips. These involve just the kids and the grandparents. Mommy and Daddy have to go back home while the kids get to experience their grandparents without Mommy and Daddy in the picture. We have done this in the past, one week each summer, and both my parents and the kids rave about the week long after they return. This year, however, we opted to take it one step further. This year, the kids will be gone a full month, and they will be visiting both sets of grandparents, the ones in Texas as well as the ones in Illinois. This involves flying and some logistical maneuvering, but it will be well worth it in the end.

My parents have already scouted out various week-long camps for the kids, priced out certain events at the Chicago museums, planned day activities to movies, rock-climbing, the driving range. My in-laws have figured out how the kids are going to split their time among the three aunts and uncles that also live in the area and have also come up with a list of activities. It is difficult to discern just who is most excited about this month-long excursion, the kids or the grandparents. I know that no matter what happens, this will be a summer to remember for everyone and helps further our goal of creating that tight relationship between the two groups.  This is far better than any summer camp they might attend.

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