Never in my 33 years of life have I dreaded summer. I have always looked forward to it. I love the sunshine. I love the heat (as long as I have air conditioning available when I want it). I love splashing in the water with my kids, taking trips to the lake, BBQ’s, and all of the other fun stuff that comes with summer.
This summer, however, there’s a new component – trying to figure out what to do with Zach while school’s out. This is filling me with so much anxiety right now that I can’t even think about the joys of summer yet. It’s complicated this year. If Evie was on school break too, I would hire a sitter to come to our house and call it good. I seriously doubt I could find a sitter to come to the house for what I can pay for only one child. If both kids were home it would be much more feasible, but I’m not ready to take her out of the day care that we love (it already makes me sad to think about putting her in preschool).
I’m not really sure where else to look at this point. I’ve checked with the YMCA day camps and they are a bit more pricey than what I can pay. His old preschool has a school-age program in the summer, but he wasn’t very happy there towards the end and says he doesn’t want to go back there. I’m sure there have to be more day camp programs around, but I haven’t found them yet, at least not ones that we can afford.
It seems odd that we can’t afford day camp costs, considering that we paid for full-time day care for the first five years of his life. Those years were a big struggle financially, especially after his sister came along. Now that we finally have a little bit of breathing room (thank you public school system!), adding on another $140-160 a week seems like a lot of money.
Then there’s the other issue that’s staring me in the face. Now that we know he has some definite sensory issues, I worry about introducing him to a new situation. What if we put him in a summer camp and he just can’t handle it? It took us several months of school before I felt like things were under control and I feel like we’ll be starting all over again. I don’t want the poor kid to be miserable all summer because he’s put in a situation that makes him uncomfortable. For my own comfort, I need to know that he’s somewhere that can handle his quirks and can manage a meltdown if/when it happens. I would hate to think that all the work we’ve done with him over the last few months would be blown because he isn’t in a place where he can get the support he needs.
So I’m stuck. I know I still have two and a half months or so to figure it all out, but I’m a little stressed out about it right now. Parenting brings so many challenges, but deciding who is going to care for my child when I can’t is the most challenging thing I’ve ever had to do. I never feel like I’m making the right decision, although I have been super lucky a couple of times. I guess I just have to keep looking until I find something that feels right.
In the meantime, I’m sending him back to Evie’s day care for spring break next week (even though he thinks he’s too old for it). He’s not at all happy about it, but I tried to buffer the disappointment a little by signing him up for another session of swimming lessons. I can’t wait to see him in the water again. Not only does he love swimming, but he’s getting pretty darn good at it too!