everywhere we go, people wanna know

June 21, 2008 at 6:42 am (Uncategorized)

I can’t seem to go an entire week doing outdoor activities. I don’t understand this. It’s almost like the more fun I am having, the sicker I am going to get.

Wednesday night I started feeling kind of crummy. For those who don’t know–and apparently a lot more people read this blog than let on–I spent the week (four days of it anyway) at our Girl Scout service area’s day camp in Chelsea.

I love camp. I was never a Girl Scout (until I was 31, at least) but I went to camp in Las Vegas, New Mexico as a middle schooler and still remember so much of it. We had peach nectar to drink. Peach nectar!

Anyway, I was not in charge of one group of girls because then my own little Brownie Girl Scout would be insanely jealous and never let go of my hand. I got to do something much more fun–badge stations! Doing badge stations usually means you have a one hour period most days with no group coming in. Grown up fun time.

Confession: during my “free period” I usually ended up down with my littlest one in their “small fry” camp unit (their country this year was France, making them the French Fries), playing with the little kids, or observing my son’s bad behavior around a specific group of girls. One day I decided to go get a canoe instead.

You know this story will only get better from here. I think my fall in the lake is what made me sick, actually.

There’s a small group of older scouts headed to the canoes. The woman in charge of this area is someone I knew in a professional context before, and knowing how truly brilliant she is, I trusted her judgment. She said a kayak would be more fun than a canoe. “So much cooler” were her words, I think.

I don’t trust smart people any more. And I should have known that a big mama like myself was not going to do well in the kayak.

First thing I do as Waterfront Woman is pushing me off shore is tip the kayak over. I’m fully dressed. My children all had complete changes of clothes, but I didn’t. Being wet wasn’t the big deal because it was warm and sunny and I knew I’d dry off. The lake water left some scum on my eyeglasses ( i was still having to wear the glasses because my contacts weren’t in yet) that still won’t come off.

I also sucked a healthy amount of lake water into my nose and joked with friends on my street that night about how I’d probably die of “secondary drowning” or something. Then I started to get sick.

I decided to put the kayak away and had two servants–er, girl scouts–get me a canoe and paddles. I paddled myself out to the middle of the lake and pretty much just paddled in a circle. It was wonderful.

First of all, if you don’t regularly take transportation that requires your own body power to move (like a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates, canoe, pedalboat), then you need to try it. Something about using the body’s own energy and strength to get somewhere is exhilarating. Everyone should have the opportunity to try it. My kids have always complained about not having the Power Wheels things their friends had, but my husband and I thought it was important for them to use their bodies to make things move. My son already loves canoeing and got to do it as part of the boys’ group (sons of volunteers) at camp this week. My older daughter found out, too, and can’t wait to try it again.

At the end of my solo excursion, Waterfront Lady sent someone out to check on me. She hooked her kayak to my canoe, called over her friend (another kayaker, these skinny kayaking girls are something else!), and we went on a little tour. I think they’d thought I was stuck and couldn’t get anywhere…but I was really just enjoying myself. Out in the distance, I could hear the squeaky little voice of my youngest, hiking with her little French Fry friends.

As a parent, I don’t take enough time to enjoy things like that. Not just solitude–but actually enjoying my kids. Seems I’m always disciplining, correcting, cleaning, cooking, worrying–all the hard stuff that is part of parenting–and not enjoying enough. Not enjoying their uniqueness (all three are so different, I sometimes wonder what God was thinking), their silliness and wisdom and sense of wonder with the world.

That’s what camp was about this week, being able to recapture the best part of parenting, which is seeing your children be silly, serious, respectful, and brave, all from a distance. I know we go back to “normal” now, but knowing that my daughter paddled herself to the middle of a lake, my son learned to dive despite his fears, and that my youngest enjoys helping little kids and making friends with teenage kids and grown ups–when I am getting frustrated I’ll remember these wonderful moments.

Oh yeah, and I’m sick. They say it’s not strep, but we’ll see. Frankly, I feel like shit. And the Lortab, which is my last resort for pain, has had the opposite of the desired effect and I am wide awake and it hurts my throat and neck to lie down.

Comment away. Or don’t. I don’t need you to validate my experiences by commenting on my blog! (But I sure like when you do!)

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4 Comments

  1. Heather said,

    Ok. This kills any curiosity I’ve had to go down the road and rent a kayak. I figured it might be fun since we live so close to the river, but you know, pond scum illnesses are not appealing.

    Hope you get well soon!

  2. Leigh said,

    Oh, no. I am so sorry that I laughed at your expense. But I do sincerely hope that you feel better.

  3. Poodlehead said,

    This is a small world – I was in a mom’s group a year and a half ago and clicked on a link on MY blog today that took me to Nicci’s Nest – she used to be in that group and now is in FL. So I click on one of her links and it’s YOU, my daughter’s troop leader. Small world!!!

  4. MissBossyPants said,

    Poodlehead: I saw your vanity plate at camp and didn’t even know it was you! I have some great photos of your littlest Girl Scout. I know Nicole from several years back. Um, don’t tell anyone I have a blog LOL Just kidding. Even the cops know. Now.

    Leigh: I totally would have laughed out loud at you, too. No worries 😉

    Heather: kayaks are probably fantastic, if you do not weigh nearly 300 lbs like I do. But I was fantastic in a canoe.

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