Monday, July 21, 2014

I Forgot

My kids are home from camp. They came home Sunday. I spent Saturday stressing. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised by that statement. Anyone who doesn’t know me and actually believes last week’s post was real, will be confused.

Shouldn’t I have been looking forward to their return? Of course I was!

Shouldn’t I have taken advantage of the last 24-hours of alone time with my husband? Of course I did!

Shouldn’t I have been happy they didn’t get eaten by bears? Of course I was!

Shouldn’t I have relaxed those last few hours before they arrived? Of course...yeah, not so much.

See, I forgot my kids.

No, I didn’t forget them anywhere. But I did forget who they were and what they were like. Obviously, my goal to relax and unwind was very successful.

I forgot:

  • They don’t clean. I spent the day straightening up the house, knowing that when they came home, their gross camp stuff would be everywhere. Part of me thought that if they walked into a clean house, they would be inspired to put things away right away. Yeah, I’m laughing right along with you.
  • They are self-sufficient. I’ve been able to get a lot of writing and editing done while they were gone, because I had time to myself. I didn’t think I’d have time to do anything (other than laundry, which apparently makes them scarce when I start it) once they came home. They’re teenagers. Once the non-stop camp talk pauses, they go off to SnapChat, text, watch TV and all other electronic things they’ve been unable to do the past month.
  • They are exhausted. We have a lot of things to do in the next eight weeks and I assumed we’d start as soon as they walked in the house. Oh yeah, they’ve been at camp for a month, are sleep deprived and sick. They’re not doing much of anything. I might be ready to tackle my to-do list; they’re not.
  • They’re my kids. No matter how nervous I was for fantasy world (or, as my husband likes to say, 1998) to end and the real world to start, they are my kids and we have our own rhythm that we automatically slip into as soon as we’re together. It’s not always good, it’s not always bad. But it’s ours. And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Crazy Camp Mom

5:43 am: Wakes up with heart pounding from nightmare of child being eaten by bears. Tries to wake husband—he grunts. Scours news reports and social media. Doesn’t see anything about bears eating children, but does see reports of traffic pileups and some weird picture of Paula Deen.

6:15 am: Checks camp website for blogs about area wildlife and photos of child. Finds 67 pictures of fireworks (black sky, fuzzy multi-colored blobs, no people). Asks now-awake husband about likelihood of bears eating children. He pants out, “Go to sleep” as he exercises.

6:35 am: Scours website looking for information about how early she can call camp to ask about bears. “Not before 9,” mumbles husband as he shaves.

7:15 am: Gets distracted by friends during dog walk. Halfway through 3.5 mile walk, is reminded that child will be going on 30 mile hike with bunk. Dictates reminders into phone—check for bears, make sure counselors will enforce buddy system and bug spray.

8:30 am: Returns home sweaty. Is camper getting dehydrated? Adds to note. Makes breakfast. What is camper eating? Wonders if they will help campers all get even amounts of cereal, because it’s not fair if someone hogs all the Wheaties.

9:00 am: Races out of shower, with shampoo still in hair to call camp. Asks Camp Mom about bears, hike, buddy system, bug spray and breakfast. Not sure why Camp Mom sounded confused—these are perfectly normal questions, aren’t they?

9:42 am: Finishes dressing and wonders what child is wearing. Checks for photos, but none are posted.

10:02 am: While doing errands, wonders if child was woken up this morning. Wouldn’t want child to miss out on the fun. Calls camp from car and asks Camp Mom to check to see if child was left accidentally in bunk. Camp Mom says the entire bunk has already woken up, cleaned the cabin, eaten breakfast and are almost finished swimming, so not to worry, child is up.

11:23 am: Returns from grocery shopping and realizes she has no idea if swimming ended or if her child drowned. Runs to computer and finds a few pictures posted. None of her child. Several of best friend’s. Calls best friend. Best friend laughs. Puts groceries away while deciding whether or not to call Camp Mom.

12:31 pm: Finishes lunch while continuously refreshing camp photo page. Still no pics of child. Calls Camp Mom. Camp Mom isn’t available. Waits for call-back.

1:43 pm: Receives call from Camp Mom and is reassured child has not drowned. Asks for Camp Mom’s cell phone so she can get her questions asked right away and so that Camp Mom doesn’t have to interrupt her own activities. Is refused. Considers calling Camp Director.

2:30 pm: Checks camp photos again. Nothing new posted. Calls camp to complain about photographer.

3:47 pm: Checks camp photos again. Several photos of child, including one with child and Camp Mom, child holding sign “Hi Mom!” Calls Camp Mom to tell her that’s not her child’s shirt and ask why.

4:12 pm: After researching all potential diseases one can get from sharing clothing, writes letter to child asking her not to share her clothes. Asks why child has not written in two days and when she does write, why she doesn’t answer any questions.

5:30 pm: Starts cooking dinner. Checks camp Facebook page and sees menu posted. “Yellow Meal.” What is that and why is it yellow? Calls Camp Mom and leaves message.

6:13 pm: Camp Mom calls back and assures her that the Yellow Meal is a camp favorite and it’s not served all the time. Ask Camp Mom if the corn in the yellow meal is on the cob or not, because child’s teeth get sore eating off the cob (braces and all). Camp Mom must have dropped phone, because there is a dial tone. Must be because camp is located in the middle of nowhere.

7:30 pm: Checks camp photos again and sees pictures of large group of smiling kids. Child is on the end. Why is child on the end? Husband distracts her and she can’t call Camp Mom.

8:02 pm: No longer distracted and wondering what is going on at camp, calls Camp Mom again. Told Camp Mom is busy with evening activities and will call later. Later? Who is going to tuck in my child for bed???

9:30 pm: Camp Mom calls. Child’s braces are fine—it was loose corn. Child is happy and was standing next to best friend, who happened to be at the end of the group of kids. Kids are not going to bed yet.

10:27 pm: Checks photos one last time and tells husband she wants to call Camp Mom to find out when kids are going to bed. Child needs sleep for such a busy day. Husband hides all phones.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Hike

Previously posted on Believing is Seeing, July 5, 2014

My husband is trying to kill me. Oh, I’m sorry, did I say that out loud? I meant to say, my husband and I went on a hike today. We always try to do fun things together when our kids are away at camp, and killing me, I mean, going on a hike, is one of his favorite things to do.

We found a local trail that had several hiking options and settled on a 1,000 mile 8-mile hike. He looked at the map and noticed that some of the trail seemed a bit boring looking, and a bit close to the road (read flat) and decided to add in a loop that was more interesting looking (read hilly).

So, we packed up our water, food, dog and set off. It started out as a beautiful day—a nice breeze, lots of shade and very flat terrain. It was beautiful. But then we kept walking, and walking and walking. A log crossed our path and the dog jumped over it. We came to another log and she decided it was time to go back and tried to turn around. Ha!

Finally, we got to mile 1.8. Really? That’s it? We found a nature conservancy and took our first break, ate a little lunch and if you were me, sat in the shade while my husband wandered around a bit. Then we continued. The next part of the hike was actually along a road. It was flat and easy and we passed this huge estate, at which point my husband pointed ahead and told me the trail was up there.

The “trail” was an animal path. It was not meant for humans. It was barely meant for dogs. It was the kind of trail that if we’d come across an animal, we’d be in the wrong for infringing on their spot. But my husband thought this was the interesting part, so we continued. Up hill. Continuously.

I’ll admit, I complained a little. Really not a lot—I was trying to save my breath. But it was hot, my hiking boots were hurting, and I thought I was going to die in the woods without anyone being able to find my body. Finally, after what seemed like three days, but was probably about an hour, we returned to the part of the path near the nature conservancy.

I really wanted to wait there and send my husband for the car to come and get me. I really, really wanted to do that. But there was no place to lie down, other than the grass, and I didn’t want bugs crawling into my ears (in case you haven’t figured it out by now, I am not an outdoor person). So I walked back with my husband to our car.

I didn’t die. And when we got back to the car, he drove to an ice cream store and bought me Death by Chocolate. J