Am I Really Giving My Box of Samoas to a Gaggle of Daddy Long Legs?

Snoopy Marshmallow

Childhood entails so many beautiful rites of passage. School, your first crush, losing your first tooth, catching rolly pollys, playing in the mud, and of course Girl Scout sleep away camp (insert Cub Scout/Boy Scout if you have a mini man).

When I was a child, I too was a Girls Scout; preceded by Brownie and Pixie (now called Daisy). I loved it. We sang Christmas Carols to convalescent home elders, grew bean sprouts in a cup, sang songs (oh you know the ones), and sold cookies, lots and lots of cookies.

Then of course, we went to camp.

Camp was the beginning of the end for me. In the fourth grade I attended Girl Scout sleep away horse camp. That was a hard earned badge. I was cool with being away from my family for a week, I was cool with learning to saddle and bridle a horse, I was even cool with scooping the horse doo doo. What I was not cool with was sleeping in a bare bones structure, taking your life into your own hands when going to the showers, and bugs.

Effing nature.

Me before dinner.

Me before dinner.

Now I have a little peanut of my own, who is enjoying the Brownies. It fills me with pride to watch her participate in the same types of activities I did as a Girl Scout.

Until we had to go to camp.

I cannot tell you people the amount of anxiety I experienced leading up to the big day. I was worried about the bugs, someone getting hurt, and being in the middle of nowhere.

All of my fears came true.

The wasps were angry and on a mission. The daddy long legs decided my arm was an excellent place to just chill. And the amount of Band-Aids handed out that weekend could have swathed King Tut…twice.

What I did not expect was all the crying. Mostly done by me. Just kidding, not really. I cried on the inside. So many little girls crying. Crying for their parents, crying because so and so was not playing with them, crying because they were hungry (that got the most tears), or their legs hurt, or their arm hurt, or the hair follicles in their ears hurt. So. Much. Crying.

What I looked like during dinner.

What I looked like during dinner.

At one point I looked over to my friend, another brave mama chaperoning with me, and said the words, “I wish I was a dude. I’m guessing the Cub Scouts don’t cry about sand in their shoes.” Then we went on to fantasize about all the beer and chips and dip we could consume if we had a tricked out RV. This only brought on more tears, from me.

While some of my worries were confirmed, what I did not expect were all the positives. The friendships formed, the camaraderie of the older Girl Scouts with our younger girls, and the general awe I developed for the amazing troop leaders who made this shin dig happen.

There were magical moments that lit up the adventure as well: S’mores by the fire; the flag retiring ceremony; finding the “beach” by the lake and creating castles, cheers, and shell habitats; sticks, sticks, and more sticks; night time skits and songs; and swapping trinkets.

While this old hag of a Girl Scout kissed the ground when I walked through the door of my home, I was happy to see my little Brownie grinning and shouting, “That was the best camping trip ever!”

And isn’t that what being a scout is all about. Togetherness? Fellowship? Learning and growing? All of the above were accomplished.

But next time I am bring my bug zapper … and a case of wine.

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Am I Really Asking a Pilgrim, “Why So Serious?”

Angry Male Pilgrim

Ah yes, the holidays are upon us. The first snow has fallen in New York, merchants have wrapped their poles with Christmas lights, holiday music pipes through the speakers of most booksellers, and coffee shops around the globe have busted out their peppermint mochas.

I had better wrap my presents soon before –

Oh wait, Thanksgiving hasn’t even happened yet.

It is not new news that Thanksgiving has become the lost holiday.  Stores go straight from Halloween to Christmas. I am fairly certain that if I went to Michael’s to by a wooden cornucopia, I would have to dig to the bottom of some back bin where all the broken picture frames and torn wreaths go to die.

Why, do you ask, is this day of thanks commercially ignored?

Two words: Grouchy Pilgrims.

Let’s face it folks, it was not a great time in our American history. The weather sucked, the earth was hard and barren, and if the small pox didn’t get you, an Indian raid sure might (no offense Wampanoag people). Not a lot of jumping for joy happening.

Unfortunately, our retailers have done nothing to amend this issue. Take a look at these two wooden Pilgrims my mother in law gave me. They are actually frowning.  Pilgrims 1And they are holding a TON of food. Look at the man, he is rolling his eyes. Maybe they got into a fight.

About six years ago, I bought some Pilgrims to decorate my table for Thanksgiving. Don’t look that lady pilgrim in the eye, she is about to hike up her petticoat and start a rumble. And the man? Did he just see a ghost? He looks surprised to be here. Sadly, I had to remove the Plymouth Rock folk. They were ruining the vibe.

Maybe she has a corn allergy.

Maybe she has a corn allergy.

I don’t understand it. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful for the food we have, our family, our friends, and for the fact that we were not alive during the 1600s.  Yet, our stores place all the focus on Christmas.

Who can blame them?

Let us briefly compare:

Main Ingredient in Christmas Food: Sugar

Main Ingredient in Thanksgiving Food: Wheat

Music of Christmas Past and Present: The glorious Deck the Halls, and the upbeat Jingle Bells.

Music of Thanksgiving Past and Present: Moaning during childbirth, and moaning on the couch after too much of Aunt Peg’s candied yams.

Christmas Decorations:  Bright red elves, happy snowmen, rich green hollies.

Thanksgiving Decorations: A dead bird.

I don’t care though, I am going all out this Thanksgiving. My entire family will be in town and I have a lot to be thankful for.

So raise your spoonful of mashed potatoes with me, stick your turkey flag out on the lawn, and celebrate the day in all its grandeur.

But stay away from the turducken, it’s pretty gamey.

 

Am I Really Wearing a Hazmat Suit for a Paper Cut?

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When your child is sick, it sucks – big time. There is really nothing a parent can do, other than treat the symptoms and try to make your child as comfortable as possible. No parent likes to see their child ill. It is a helpless feeling.

I like to take that feeling up a notch to near hysteria level. It is not just a cough, it is SARS. A runny nose could mean avian flu, and that rash is poison oak.

I also like to douse my hands in anti-bacterial gel. If I thought it was safe to swallow I would probably drink it.

Right now my husband is sick. If I could put him in a bubble I would do it. Instead, I follow him around with the Lysol bottle. A few years back he caught a terrible cold which turned into pneumonia. This spawned comments from him such as: “This is a lonely illness.” Sadly he was right. My daughter and I avoided him like the plague.

I used to be carefree and not so much of a worry wart. Both of my grandmothers had these bright orange worry beads. The beads hung on a rope and my grandmothers would carry them around and rub them between their fingers to alleviate their worries. As a child I remember thinking I would never need those beads. I never worried.

Fast forward thirty years and motherhood has made me a nervous wreck. Every time my child asks for a Band-Aid I fire off the DEFCON Level 3 sirens.

Conversely, I know plenty of parents who are not this way. I envy them. To be free from that type of anxiety must be magical. To sleep at night, or do just about anything else rather than focus on the latest food recall must be a gift. Instead, I am plagued by thoughts of the Ebola virus every time we go out to eat. Lovely, I know.

I am trying my best to loosen up a bit. I am not berating our server any more with questions such as, “Do you wash all the lettuce?” Or attacking my husband with worries of, “Is this chicken pink? I can’t see well in this lighting.” I have also stopped myself from calling my mother (a retired nurse) to inquire about appendicitis symptoms in regard to my child’s abdominal pain, when really, she just needs to poop.

Okay, well that last one is a lie, I call that poor woman every day. But I really am trying to be better.

So if you see me furiously working on a string of worry beads, tell me to take a deep breath. It’s not cyclospora, it’s just a little stomach upset.

Unless that salad I ate last night was from a bag. Then who knows……