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I live in a unique community. About three or four blocks away there’s a little beach club. It’s not fancy or terribly expensive. In fact, it’s very, very reasonable. It costs about $1,000 per year, which for New York is downright cheap. I have friends who pay to “share” cabanas only a few miles away. Those cabanas cost $3,600 per year, but I digress.

It has a little pool for babies and toddlers, a big pool with a slide and diving board, a beach, and a marina. It’s very cozy and private. And exclusive. You can’t join unless you live in a very small section of my town.

Anyway, we’ve been members since way before we had kids. We’ve always boated, so we joined specifically for that. We had no interest in the actual club, even though we knew there were plenty of social things going on — parties, gatherings, kid-themed events. I have oh so very much I could write about my little beach club, but right now all that matters is that it’s making me feel very guilty.

There are moms and dads (yes, dads, since we have plenty of firemen, policemen, and business owners down here) who spend every day at the club with their kids. The kids love it, of course, and the adults have a great time, too. And yet I can’t be one of those moms. I am working all summer, so my kids are going to camp.

Yes, I am letting the big one be on the swim team, which means she goes to camp late every day, but after swim practice is over we pack up our stuff instead of settling in for the day. It’s really stressing me out.

What complicates all this is that I really don’t love the sun. I am very pale and prone to freckling and burning. My kids are, too, so I end up having to re-sunscreen them every hour to 90 minutes, which they hate and I hate. So I wonder to myself could I work a little less over the summer and let the kids enjoy their club? Would I work a little less if I had nice, brown skin like my mom instead of my father’s pasty white skin? It’s a question I can’t answer.

And so here I sit at 2 a.m. again writing about my angst-y feelings over something that’s already been decided. My husband will be taking them down a lot, he says. He works from home every Thursday, and with ubiquitous Wi-Fi down there he can get an entire day’s work done sitting under the awnings, one eye on the kids, the other eye on his laptop. He’s also planning on taking one vacation day each week to do nothing but swim and relax. I’ve promised myself to take half-days whenever possible, but my kids — our kids — are still going to be at camp much of the time. And I just wish they weren’t.

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