Why am I grateful? Because in a few weeks she'll be absent from our home for seven hours each day. Seven hours! She sleeps 10-11 hours a night, so that leaves me only 6-7 waking hours with her. That's not a lot of time. There's so much I'm trying to teach her. So much I want her to know, feel and understand. So much I want to arm her with as she confronts her battles with the world each day.
And then there were those summer outings--everywhere we went we saw groups of children in matching t-shirts. Children from toddlers to tweens, bustled off to camp or daycare for the summer. Children left in the care of others, often teens or young adults, for most of their waking hours. My heart ached for those children and their parents.
Summer should be spent together; going on little outings, family vacations, gardening, doing crafts, reading books. I fully admit that there are times when camps or daycare are necessary. But, there are also many times when it could be avoided.
Most of our neighbors think we're a little crazy. We have three kids and I'm a stay-at-home mom. How can we possibly afford it? I say, "How can we not afford it? I only have 18 years to prepare these little people to be out on their own." I will gladly forgo a second car, cable, a cell phone with a data plan, big vacations and dinners out if means that I get more time with my kids. Because really, what more could I possibly hope to earn than the love of confident, capable children.