We just got back from a family reunion. It was what all family reunions are. Fun, all in all, but fun with a backdrop of the up-close and personal look at exactly what you were escaping when you took that plunge and, risking life, jumped from the nest. It was far too short, actually. The reunion, not the jump. The time FLEW by. Let me tell you about some of the stuff I was NOT escaping when I left home.
We spent two of the days out camping. This was a bit of a worry for my kids, especially The Pinkiest (4). It did not help that a bear actually ate a kid near where we live one week before we left for the reunion. In spite of my trying to shield them from this information, my kids found out about it from their friends. Shielding kids from stuff never works. They will still come face to face with whatever it is eventually. Someone should inform the Jehovah's Witnesses of this. Teacher actually had one student this year whose parents wanted Teacher to pretend that Martin Luther King is not celebrated on his birthday but that it is just a day on which we happen to honor him. Like that child is somehow never going to find out that Martin Luther King Day is the date of his birth. As if. These are the same people who somehow believe that if they insist entire school districts bend to their way of doing things their (I can only assume SLOW) children will somehow be protected from knowledge of the evil practice of holiday observance. Does calling it a "winter party" instead of a Christmas party and using no decorations that might or might not be traditionally used to decorate for said holiday change the fact that Christmas is being celebrated by a large segment of the population and these same prohibited decorations are in every store, post office, bank, and street for at least two months. Who do they think they are fooling? Are their kids really that dumb? Or do they keep them in their houses for those five months until Jim Bob finally takes his Christmas lights down in March? It should be called "Politcal Buncha Crap". There is nothing correct about it. But I digress. Shielding kids from stuff never works. Learning about child-eating animals "in the woods" meant that The Pinkiest was not going to be able to sleep "in the woods" until her Father promised to bring his guns with him. Which meant I was not able to sleep, knowing there were weapons around not locked up. Ok. That is an exaggeration. I sleep no matter what. Typhoon, earthquake, crying baby, midterm. But I was concerned. Granted, they weren't loaded, and the kids didn't know where they were, but it still worried me.
My Cute Sister bought the kids bug catching nets and houses which were such a hit that they are still talking about them. (This is a long time in kid years. Attention spans for these sorts of things usually maxes out around 2 days.) The bug catching kept them busy and Bubba (6) still hasn't forgiven me for not allowing him to bring a bug home and feed it. The fun really got going when Brother taught the kids how to host a celebrity death match bug-style and put a red ant and a spider into a magnifying jar together. (Interestingly enough, we all thought that ant was toast. In actuallity, the ant killed the spider in about 5 minutes. I'm sharing this scientific discovery to assauge the guilt I feel over watching it happen.)
The campfire was lovely. The second day Teacher thought we didn't have enough firewood so she bought two more bundles from the campground host. Brother, who believed we were all up too late the night before, decided that he was going to burn through that wood in the same amount of time that it would have taken without it, and built a fire that we could have fired ceramics on. I swear we sat so far away from it that we could just sort of see it in the distance and don't even get me started on how painful roasting marshmallows was. I think I nearly cooked my face. (Just kidding, Brother! It was a good fire.) Well anyway, when the firewood was gone all us girls were not ready to be done with fire, so Cute Sister and I went looking for sticks. We came back and threw them on the dying embers in a fashion that would have made any boyscout ashamed to admit to knowing us. The fire brightened back up and we sat and enjoyed it for two whole minutes before we needed more sticks. We repeated this process a number of times all the while being mocked by those less enthusiastic than ourselves. (Hey, it was dark.) Then Teacher lugged an uprooted tree stump over to the fire and we were able to sit and enjoy the fire until it died out. I would describe how the stump was too big for the fire-ring and was sort of precariously balanced on the metal part and how we prayed we weren't going to start a forest fire, but I couldn't do it justice.
We managed to make it home without poison oak, forest fire, or death by man-eating bear so the camping trip was a success. We did not however, make it home without either pee all over the tent or the flu. Mr.Yuke (3) recently learned the joy of peeing out of doors at the father-and-sons campout. I think Dad may have left out some of the finer points in the instruction stage. Like don't pee uphill from the tent, don't pee from the tent, don't pee toward the tent, etc. What a mess. It was not fun to clean up but luckily only one of us was sick at that point. Poor hubby had to help me take down tents inbetween bouts of throwing up. What fun. The rest of us went like dominoes over the next several days. In spite of all the sickness, the reunion was great. Cute Sister did a wonderful job planning it. We'll go again. But maybe next time we'll be a little more prepared- with a target. Think about it.