This year we headed to the woods. We still went with families from our neighborhood. Our troop totaled 14 all together. What a fun time. I was more than a little kirked out about the woods and camping. I had never camped in my whole life before last weekend. I was expecting snakes, bugs, mosquitoes, and tons of dirt. I was really pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Let me tell you all about it.
I am going to refer to this trip as a trip of ‘firsts’ for me. Although I didn’t sleep in a tent, I got the full spectrum of camping mojo. My cabin was a 12 X 12 structure of logs. A set of bunk beds and a double bed. Two small windows with calico curtains. Two electrical outlets. The outlets came in handy for the coffee pot that I had to bring with me for morning coffee. And best of all…..a front porch with a swing. There was no running water in my cabin…therefore that meant that I had to make the trek to the bathroom in the middle of the night thru the woods in my flannel man jammies.
We had 3 sites for all of us. The site with the pop up trailer was home base. That was where all the food and the cooking went on. My cabin was the designated coffee spot. So each morning I would wake up before anyone else and make pot after pot of coffee ….not unlike my part time job at Wawa. All the parents and the hard core coffee teens would meander my way and get their fill. We’d linger over cups of coffee and listen to the birds. Watch the squirrels. And otherwise process the day before and the upcoming events. It was awesome. It was awesome to have the sense of such a large extended family sitting and talking and waking up. All of us with smiles. I miss this part the very most.
One of the most memorable experiences of the trip was the karaoke that we did at the central pavilion. I actually got talked into singing “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker with my daughter Bekkah. We did this complete with hand actions and dancing around. Laughing thru the whole thing. What an experience to share with my kid! That same night, the Marine (Chris), sang “Here Without You” by Three Doors Down. He gave a wonderful verbal honor to all those over seas that are there without their family, wives, parents, and friends. He cried and sang with his whole heart. As a veteran of 2 tours in Iraq his heart was not here in the US, but with his friends in Iraq. He shared that his platoon had lost ½ it’s men in an ambush attack last year. He was still in mourning. Every veteran and relative of a veteran hugged this Marine when he set the microphone down. Every American eye in the pavilion was filled with tears. There was a reverent moment of silence for all those lost. Past, Present, Future. I stood there watching my son, Zech who wants to go in the Navy. And my adopted son, Shane who will join the Marines. I stood there with my eyes wide open knowing that in the years to come I will stand not only as a parent but as an American to honor my son and adopted son for their service and quite possibly for their lives.
I did connect with myself too. Ya know, every time I go away for a break I am so sure that I’m about to lose my sanity. And for the past two years….I realize half way thru the trip that I am not as bad off as I thought. I do have some ‘clean up’ to do with my kids. I have decided to keep my P/T job so that I can save up to take them camping again before school starts next fall. And I have decided to let some relationships go and try to foster yet more that have been simmering in the background. I guess all in all I am OK. Somewhere along the line I got into some of my “magical thinking”. My magical thinking is that process of bargaining with God without him knowing it and without me knowing it until it’s done and over with.
I had this thought that if my kids are in church. If I am in church. If I am working my recovery program. If I am doing all that I can do to make this life better for me and my kids. Then God surely would be taking up the slack. I know that God does take up the slack but that is not my magic wand excuse for not taking care of the stuff that is smoldering in the background. Wow. I really do need to change some stuff in my life before it gets away from me.
Anyway, that is that. I am no longer a camping virgin. I lost my cherry to the Chesapeake Shoreline and a troop of 14. What a blast!!!