Commentary: In Celebration Of 'No Kids Land'

Jun 25, 2010

We'll soon be celebrating our nation's freedom with 4th of July festivities. WFAE commentator Sally Phillips explains how she's getting a head start celebrating her freedom. We just shipped our daughter off to camp - for a month! I know - it's a bit jarring. We've sent her to week-long camps before, but just like a brief vacation to a foreign country, a week isn't long enough to really experience the culture, language and environment of a new place. A month, on the other hand, is ample time to really connect with your new surroundings. So my husband and I are now on a month-long adventure to NoKidsLand having left The Parent Hood behind. Already the differences are palpable. The food, language, pace of life and surroundings are all completely different. Take the food, for example. In NoKidsLand, people actually cook without being pestered for another meal of pre-fabricated food. Fruits and veggies are plentiful here and everyone actually eats them out of enjoyment rather than obligation. And desserts have the most interesting added flavoring, called nuts. The language is also very different from The Parent Hood. It is most striking in the use of the word, "you." In The Parent Hood, you is most often used in its command form, as in, "YOU must clean your room before watching TV," or in its inquisitive from, "Did YOU do your summer reading today?" In NoKidsLand, you is used in a much more intimate way, as in, "Would you like to watch an R-rated movie?" Or "I would love to take you out to dinner." When it comes to the pace of life, NoKidsLand has no chauffeurs, no chaperones, no referees, no camp directors and no police monitoring the usage of electronic devices. As a matter of fact, we've not noticed any police presence here. It seems to be a self-regulating society. And the surroundings, ahhhh the surroundings are neat and oh so quiet! NoKidsLand seems to be self-cleaning in addition to self-policing. There are no brightly colored Converses or discarded hoodies in the public areas. Rooms are not overtaken by vast amounts of clothing, Legos or snack waste. There are no mystery substances on kitchen countertops and no dishes inexplicably left in the kitchen sink by "not me." It's also very peaceful in NoKidsLand. There's a constant din in The Parent Hood made up of TV shows, Hip Hop music, YouTube videos, web chats and the pitter patter of not-so-little feet chasing a not-so-little dog. In NoKidsLand we have left behind all the drama of frantic searches for missing electronics, favorite shirts, lucky jewelry, and party invitations. And no one complains about going to bed at a reasonable hour and everyone gets up before noon. I think we're going to enjoy our stay in NoKidsLand, but just like all journeys, it will come to an end. And before it's over, I'm sure we will be pining away for our old routine, eager for the noisiness, the messiness and the drama, because all of that is part and parcel of one incredible 13-year-old whom we absolutely adore.