Monday, August 10, 2009

Old Lady

I feel old.

Not because of my three kids or the gray hairs that have sprouted all over my head or the fact that I'm closer to 40 than I am to 30.

It's because of camp.

I remember camp (that's me at one camp, above); we attended a series of day camps before settling in at Blue Rill, where we spent the better part of our childhoods. I was a young teen there, an assistant counselor who spent her days gossiping with friends and ogling the boys.

There were two types of head counselors at camp: the young, pretty ones who were on their college breaks, and the older ones who were, well, old. They seemed a world away from us then, so unlike the hip 19- and 20-year-olds I yearned to be. They wore bras (the college girls certainly didn't--it was the 70s, after all) and sensible shorts. They were over 30.

Now, I'm the old counselor.

I worked at a day camp this summer, heading a bunk of 24 6-year-olds, 21 of whom were boys. Suffice it to say that my summer was challenging. But the worst part wasn't the boy who pooped in the pool, or the one who gashed his head open and required seven stitches, or the one who simply didn't listen.

The worst part, by far, was how old I felt.

My co-head counselor was 26. My assistants were 14 and 15. The head counselors in the other 6-year-old bunk were both more than 10 years younger than I.

The young counselors and assistants ruled the camp. They were all great friends and chatted excitedly in between activities. They hung out together after camp and texted each other during the day. They were deeply tanned and wore dozens of string bracelets up their arms. I'm nothing like them.

I was once, a long time ago, but now I'd rather spend my nights at home with my kids than at the Phillies game or the camp barbecue with the other counselors. The fact is, I am old. Older than I was, anyway. And when I snuggle with Molly as she falls asleep or watch Declan jump into the pool for the first time by himself or lay with Ronan as he drifts off to sleep, there isn't any place else (or any other age) I'd rather be.

No comments: