I know, I’ve fallen behind in my posts to you. It’s not out of anger or because I no longer find these posts helpful for my own well-being or because I’m scared what one might say when I write about something. Life just has a funny way of continuing on despite you being ready or not. I feel like a dog (me) tied to a car bumper (life). This is a total reference to National Lampoon’s Vacation. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I’m incredibly disappointed in you and you’re no longer my favorite child. To refresh your memory, the dog is tied to the car bumper, forgotten and then the car drives away. The dog tried to keep up but obviously didn’t make it in the end. Don’t worry, the dog was a total jerk so it’s ok that he didn’t make it. I’m a jerk sometimes too but I’m Momma so I’m allowed. I’m currently being dragged by life and it’s moving too fast for me to jump back on my feet so meanwhile I’m just lying here, being hit by various rocks and potholes until life decides to slow its ass down.
This summer was a whirlwind but a wonderful whirlwind. Summer of Awesome was back and compared to the epic failure of last year’s event, this year we were able to successfully check off everything on our list. I think you and your brother even added a few additional items. We embarked on our first solo camping trip without the safety net of my folks which meant tent sleeping, sporadic showers, visits to questionable bathrooms and experiences with random wildlife. What started out as a 3-night camping trip to Yosemite slowly morphed into a seaside camping tour of the Central California coastline.
I was excited to camp in Yosemite until I heard about the abundance of bears, unusually high number of tourists and the sprinkle of wildfires creeping towards our campground. I’m all for adventure. Your Dad and I are some of the most spontaneous people you will ever meet but even we need relaxation every now and then. I would like to sit back with an adult beverage in my hand without the fear of a carnivorous animal standing directly behind me. Our plan B camping trip was far more relaxing and uneventful. Well, that is until the last leg of our trip when we arrived at Point Reyes.
At this point of the trip, we did end up meeting with my folks and other family friends but we were pros at this point so we didn’t need the comforts of your grandparent’s camper. Actually, Miles said screw ya’ll and he did sleep in the camper the last night. You, being the little adventurer and rockstar you are, decided to go all in and finish out our trip in the tent. Right before I had gone to bed, I saw a raccoon run under my folk’s camper. I was surprised because it wasn’t that late and most of us were still awake sitting around the campfire. Usually animals wait until people are clearly not around. This raccoon didn’t give a shit that he had an audience and I found that odd. He did leave though when I approached too closely and we all went to bed thinking nothing of it.
A couple hours later, I awake to the sound of something outside of our tent shaking one of our bins. We had a few big plastic bins that held our camping equipment, food and other camping essentials. I didn’t want the animal to get into our food so I kicked your Dad to awake him and send him out to check on things because I surely was not going to do that. Your Dad kinda shrugged me off and mumbled something about a raccoon and to not worry about it. I kicked him again because that response wasn’t the response I was looking for. Sleeping Beauty wasn’t happy about being awoken but he obliged. Your Dad comes back into the tent and mentions the raccoon got into the cooler and took our loaf of bread. No big deal–he put the cover back on and put our camping grill on top of the cooler to prevent the hungry-hungry-raccoon from returning. Not ten minutes later, the commotion returns and this time it sounds like the raccoon has jumped on to the grill and starts shaking and making all sorts of noise. At the same time, something directly behind my head growls. I’m wide awake. I look over at you and you’re sound asleep. I look at your Dad and he’s snoring and I’m like, Jesus, take the wheel. No, I actually didn’t. I actually shook your Dad awake and hissed into his ear to listen to what is happening on the other side of our nylon wall. Dad gets up, grabs the lantern and proceeds to exit the tent. I hear him trying to deter the raccoon with a heavy step around the perimeter of our tent. When he’s on one side, I can hear the animal on the other side so there’s this flurry of excitement encircling our tent. You’re still sleeping. Dad returns and drags the cooler in and then the bin of food. He zips up the tent. Turns off the lantern. Crawls back into bed. Leans over and says, yeah, that was a coyote.
*Cue pee in pants
Within minutes, I hear a pack of coyotes howling in the distance and then the cry is answered outside of our tent. Thankfully the sound appears to be moving through the campground and away from our tent. Just when I feel my body can begin to relax, the sound of wind begins to build overhead. It’s not actually hitting our tent yet but you can hear the wind picking up in the treetops above us and it’s not a gentle breeze. This is like, oh shit, the switch on my fan just broke and I don’t know how to turn it down from level 99. I’m lying there on my cot anticipating a tornado to strike our tent at any moment and then I hear raindrops. A full on rainstorm attacks us in the middle of the night and I’m thinking, I’m either going to die by a wild animal, a tornado or a hailstorm. Suddenly, the great outdoors feels like the great deathtrap. At some point, I black out from the stress and awoke the next morning to find that we all had in fact survived and thankfully, no animals attempted to enter our tent due to Dad’s idea of moving the food next to you. You were a sacrificial lamb and you didn’t even know it. Success!
There were far less stressful events over the summer like going to the fair, taking hikes, going to the beach, swimming with friends. Actually swimming is still a very stressful event for me due to the swim team and my intense competitive spirit. I try really hard to cheer for you from the sidelines. Sometimes I’m successful and other times I’m a screaming maniac having a panic attack at the starting blocks. Your Dad sits back and glares at me with his judging eyes but I know he would act the same exact way if either you or Miles picked up track or cross country. When it’s your sport, it’s hard to sit back and act cool. I’m actually composing myself quite well because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pictured myself pushing you out of the way and diving in and swimming the event for you. No, no, that wouldn’t be weird at all.
You’ve recently started your third grade of school and it finally feels like real school if that makes any sense. Before, you had homework, spelling tests, projects but everything seemed like school-light. Now, you have a few sheets of homework every night, you have multiple tests a week, you’re reading assigned books in class and you’re even running for student council. It all seems so mature and something a much older kid should be doing and then I blink and take another look at you and realize you’re not the bright-eyed, round face toddler asking me to, dwa pictwurs. Toddler speech impediments are really the cutest. You are in fact a 9-year old young lady now. 9! In 7 years you will be driving and I will need a steady prescription of Valium to deal with the anxiety that will cripple me.
You have become such a beautiful, smart, witty, inspiring young lady and it feels just like yesterday when I first held you in my arms. My posts to you may become fewer and farther between but it’s not because you’re no longer interesting. On the contrary, you are one of my favorite people and I will never grow tired of watching you blossom into something greater than I could ever have imagined. You have far exceeded any vision I had of being a parent and I want these moments to last forever.
Just a few weekends ago, you held a lemonade stand on your own accord simply so you could earn money and donate it to the hurricane victims in Texas. You spent every opportunity you could over the course of the Labor Day weekend and hustled like the boss you are and raised over $500! I was in awe of you from the first moment I laid eyes on you and I continue to be in awe of you. I love you madly and I’m so incredibly happy that you picked me to be your Mom. Yes, my crazy ass believes that so you better get on board with it. Happy 9 trips around the sun, sweet girl.