Month: June 2012

Summer Camp

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Summer camp
Lisa Baniewicz
Full House

“Help me i can’t take this”
My first thought when I received this text from my 13-year-old son while at summer camp was: Why, oh why, did I let him bring his cell phone knowing campers weren’t supposed to? And second, it sounds like something I would say. (I guess he does listen.) I also couldn’t help noticing his lack of grammar skills. Then, guilt and worry settled in. Had I made a mistake sending him?
Of course, my son, who was just dying to go to this weeklong summer camp, changed his mind immediately after I paid the registration fee. He changed his mind because he dropped the ball on his end. He wanted a friend to go and didn’t follow through with it. Since the camp literally fills up within minutes after the start of registration, it was too late. The camp was full. It wasn’t enough that his 12-year-old sister was attending, too. (How could I be so naive?) Needless to say, that boy was going for two reasons. One, because I couldn’t get my money back, and two, because I knew it would help him grow as an individual. At least that was my hope.
The next day at camp, and still texting illegally, the texts progressively sounded more desperate. I received: “Pick me up now” (Yea, right. The camp was two hours away. And use an exclamation point for crying out loud! How did you get an A in English?). Then he texted, “Im not even supposed to be texting but i want to get out of here so bad!” Finally he uses punctuation and it’s three exclamation points. I knew he was serious. Feeling torn about what to do, I responded, “That makes me so sad. Why is it so bad?” No response from him. (Did someone finally confiscate his phone?) Still worried, I shared his texts with my 16-year-old daughter who attended the same camp two years in a row because she absolutely loved it. I can’t even print her response but it was hilarious and brought me back to my senses. Let’s just say, she offered a little pep talk. I decided to adopt her “tough love” approach and sent the following: “Dad says you’re being a baby. I say, suck it up so you can play in your baseball tournament this weekend. You can do this! CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE!” (I decided to ignore a few grammar rules myself.)
Another day had passed with no response (uh, oh), and then a text came that gave me a glimmer of hope. It said, “I’m going to give u a huge hug when u get here whenever u get here. Love u.” My heart melted. I answered, “Awe, thank you. I LOVE YOU!” I refrained from texting, “That’s it! I’m sending you to summer school for an English course refresher.”
Finally, on the last night he texted, “See u tomorrow Yaaaahooooo!” I could just hear the excitement in his voice as if he were in the same room. When I picked him up, I could tell by the look on his face he had fun. Since he’s much more reserved then his sisters, meeting others in a week’s time is challenging. I knew camp would be somewhat of an adjustment because he’d never been away from home that long. If he learned anything, and I know he did, it was that you have to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to others. The effort a person puts into something is usually what they get in return. He’s already been asking about attending another camp next summer that’s even farther away. I bet he doesn’t wait around for others to come to him. And you can bet I’m not letting him bring his cell phone if they’re not allowed. I learned my lesson, too.

Compliments of the Atchison Globe

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Mother vs. Nature

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Some people just aren’t cut out for certain things. For me, it’s camping or anything closely related to roughing it in a wilderness-type atmosphere. Around this time every year, I seem to forget this characteristic about myself. The weather is so beautiful that all I want is to be outside soaking up every minute of it.
Last weekend my family accepted an invitation that included an afternoon of sailing at a state park and a cookout near the lake. (Not overnight, but definitely a full day in the wilderness.) I was very excited since I’ve never been sailing before. I was also excited to jump start our summer this way. I had such an optimistic outlook that after being there only a short time, I pulled my husband aside and said, “I think I could try camping again. Maybe we should take the kids.” He didn’t even answer. I believe he just looked at me. I’ve camped twice in my life, once as a kid and once as an adult before having kids. Enough time had passed that I’d forgotten what it was like. As the day unfolded, it all came back to me.
Having prepared part of the meal, (or at least purchased it from the grocery store), I was proud to have thought to bring two kinds of pickles, spices and various other condiments. Even the potato salad and coleslaw could have passed for homemade had I thought to put them in other containers. When we arrived, one look at the other family’s spread and I knew I was in trouble. Not only had my friend brought chocolate chip pan cookies (still warm in the pan), and a 4-pound bag of sugar for homemade lemonade, she also thought to bring aluminum foil, hand wipes, chairs and table clothes. These things never crossed my mind. Who knew one day I’d be this excited about aluminum foil.
Outdoor restrooms were available. One trip to those proved more than enough. I briefly considered not drinking another drop of liquid until we got home. Minutes after I returned, my 4-year-old announced she had to go. I smiled big and said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, “I’m going to teach you something fun!” I then proceeded to find the nearest tree with the widest trunk. Success. When my 6-year-old had to go, I explained the tree was definitely the better option. She decided the best option was to hold it until we got home. Having given birth to five children, I couldn’t even entertain that idea.
When it was my turn to go sailing, my friend and I went out on the lake with her husband. As he brought the boat over to us, she took one look at his feet and said, “You look like Shrek.” His feet and calves were covered in green slime from the lake. This didn’t appeal to me at all and I had a brief vision of capsizing in the slimy stuff before leaving shore. I pointed over to an area where the land jutted out into the water. It was surrounded by jagged rocks, but no green slime. I asked if I could be picked up over there instead. This is what my husband calls “high-maintenance.” This is what I call “smart!” Instead, my friend’s husband steadied the boat as near as he could, so I could just step right off the land onto the boat and never touch the water. My children dubbed me a princess after this. Don’t they know I’m the queen?
At the end of the day, when dirt was everywhere, even under my fingernails (Yuk!), my open-mindedness to camping completely wore off. I looked at my husband and said, “I’m good. This was close enough to camping for me.”

Compliments of The Atchison Globe

Mother vs. Nature

Posted on

Some people just aren’t cut out for certain things. For me, it’s camping or anything closely related to roughing it in a wilderness-type atmosphere. Around this time every year, I seem to forget this characteristic about myself. The weather is so beautiful that all I want is to be outside soaking up every minute of it.
Last weekend my family accepted an invitation that included an afternoon of sailing at a state park and a cookout near the lake. (Not overnight, but definitely a full day in the wilderness.) I was very excited since I’ve never been sailing before. I was also excited to jump start our summer this way. I had such an optimistic outlook that after being there only a short time, I pulled my husband aside and said, “I think I could try camping again. Maybe we should take the kids.” He didn’t even answer. I believe he just looked at me. I’ve camped twice in my life, once as a kid and once as an adult before having kids. Enough time had passed that I’d forgotten what it was like. As the day unfolded, it all came back to me.
Having prepared part of the meal, (or at least purchased it from the grocery store), I was proud to have thought to bring two kinds of pickles, spices and various other condiments. Even the potato salad and coleslaw could have passed for homemade had I thought to put them in other containers. When we arrived, one look at the other family’s spread and I knew I was in trouble. Not only had my friend brought chocolate chip pan cookies (still warm in the pan), and a 4-pound bag of sugar for homemade lemonade, she also thought to bring aluminum foil, hand wipes, chairs and table clothes. These things never crossed my mind. Who knew one day I’d be this excited about aluminum foil.
Outdoor restrooms were available. One trip to those proved more than enough. I briefly considered not drinking another drop of liquid until we got home. Minutes after I returned, my 4-year-old announced she had to go. I smiled big and said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, “I’m going to teach you something fun!” I then proceeded to find the nearest tree with the widest trunk. Success. When my 6-year-old had to go, I explained the tree was definitely the better option. She decided the best option was to hold it until we got home. Having given birth to five children, I couldn’t even entertain that idea.
When it was my turn to go sailing, my friend and I went out on the lake with her husband. As he brought the boat over to us, she took one look at his feet and said, “You look like Shrek.” His feet and calves were covered in green slime from the lake. This didn’t appeal to me at all and I had a brief vision of capsizing in the slimy stuff before leaving shore. I pointed over to an area where the land jutted out into the water. It was surrounded by jagged rocks, but no green slime. I asked if I could be picked up over there instead. This is what my husband calls “high-maintenance.” This is what I call “smart!” Instead, my friend’s husband steadied the boat as near as he could, so I could just step right off the land onto the boat and never touch the water. My children dubbed me a princess after this. Don’t they know I’m the queen?
At the end of the day, when dirt was everywhere, even under my fingernails (Yuk!), my open-mindedness to camping completely wore off. I looked at my husband and said, “I’m good. This was close enough to camping for me.”

Compliments of The Atchison Globe