"God loves a cheerful giver. God loves a CHEERFUL giver." I'm repeating this over and over to myself as I pack.
Sleeping bag? Check.
Mess kit? Check.
Cheerful outlook? Rats. Two out of three ain't bad, right?
It's not that I don't want to spend the weekend chaperoning a Girl Scout camping trip. Hmmm, well, actually I really don't want to spend the weekend chaperoning a Girl Scout camping trip. I'd rather stay home. It's not that I don't enjoy being a Girl Scout Leader--this is true. I have the pleasure and privilege of working with a wonderful group of 10 year olds. It's just that tomorrow will be the third Saturday out of the last four that I have spent the day with these lovely girls. We hiked together on the Billy Goat Trail. We raked leaves together for our service project clean up. And now, we camp. How much togetherness do we need?
Oops, I do not sound cheerful, do I?
I'm dreaming of cozying up by the fire Saturday morning reading the paper and drinking coffee from my new coffee maker. Then maybe I'll go to yoga with my friend Debbie and fix myself a big salad for lunch. In the afternoon I'll turn up some festive Christmas music and fa la la as I deck my halls with painted nutcrackers and evergreen wreaths. Paul and I will put our feet up and enjoy a drink together before I whip up a delicious dinner. Then we'll end the day snuggled on the couch with a family movie.
Well, I certainly feel more cheerful now but, in reality, staying home will not be more relaxing than my chaperoning duties. Jack needs to depart for his basketball game at 8:30 am, and Tatum will need a long walk. The giant history project is due Monday and I'm pretty it hasn't been started. Then there's the grocery trip that needs to be made in preparation for the 21 people showing up at our house for the church youth group progressive dinner. We're the salad stop. If the house could be sorta straight and the toilet clean before company arrives, that would be great.
We're not the only parents who seem to sacrifice every weekend to our children's schedules. Our kids are in that maniacal age bracket--old enough to be active but too young to drive--and after we sign them up for all these activities we are at their mercy. Recently I invited a friend over and this was her reply (names changed to protect the innocent):
"We unfortunately have a really crazy weekend. There are swim meets and basketball games and Husband and I have a work party to go to Sat. night which will be very late. Of course now we find out Child 1 has a late BB game too. Sunday I have a swim meet with Child 2 and BB game with Child 3. I'd love to come and thanks for the invite, but I think we will be beat. I hope they don't have tons of homework too."
When I stop to consider, the camping trip will be just fine. It's only 24 hours of my life and I'll be sleeping for 8 of them. (Yes, I know my sleeping may be wishful thinking.) We're looking at decent weather--not always guaranteed the first week of December. There will be some creative skits, I'll get to go on a hike, help build a campfire and even get a s'more or two in the deal. Katherine is thrilled that I'm coming.
When I start to think about having a Saturday all to myself, I realize that in 5 years, my Saturdays may be spent overseeing the college application process. In just a few short years, I'll have all the Saturdays I want to myself. This is when I remember that no one is forcing me to be involved in my children's lives. It's a choice that I make gladly realizing that they do grow up too fast.
Water bottle? Check.
Cheerful outlook? Check.