My mind is whirling from a very full Memorial Day weekend already. I feel like I have learned and gleaned so much in the past 36 hours alone.
This sounds completely geeky, but the entire time Ryley and I were on her Girl Scout overnight trip in Winter Park, I typed notes into my phone of “oddities” that I witnessed in others and wanted to remember to share with Ryan and explore in more detail. I think I may just have learned more on this trip than Ryley did.
Let’s just get a couple of things clear: I jay-walk. I wear flipflops in winter. I am not one to buckle my seatbelt when driving from one side of a park to another. I wouldn’t chase a napkin across a picnic area for the sake of the environment. I don’t worry about whether or not paper is safe to burn in a campfire. I enjoy it when my daughter picks a wildflower for me. I like cooking with salt and pepper. I like real bacon, not turkey bacon. I don’t dig through trashcans looking for CapriSun wrappers. I don’t make my daughter put an equal number of peanuts in her trail mix to counteract the number of M&Ms.
In summary, when it comes to the environment and health, I am pretty carefree and relaxed. I am not overly cautious and “aware” in those areas. Maybe I should be.
On the flipside, I haven’t told my daughter about the birds and the bees or used the official terminology thereof. We don’t listen to Radio Disney or really watch any Disney Channel shows at all. Ryley will probably never read Harry Potter, and I don’t feel like I should have to apologize for that. I don’t want her reading about a school of wizardry and witchcraft. I just don’t. In those ways, I am an extremely protective and overly cautious mother.
So, as it dawned on me that my parenting style is so different from that of the other moms, I struggled with feelings of inferiority. I don’t usually consider myself a “young” mom, but I soon realized I was the youngest mom by far. Two of the moms were old enough to have been my own mother; the others were in their 40s (which isn’t THAT far off, I know!). And as I felt defensive of my cooking habits, our conservative beliefs, and our apparent non-existent respect for the environment, I found myself jumping to unfair conclusions and judgments of the other ladies.
But just as I did so, I was welcomed. They weren’t judging me. My inferior feelings were my very own. And as I warmed up to them in return, I saw the need for Jesus in their eyes. I found a common bond in others.
I realized that all seven-year-olds are whiny, no matter the parenting style. They all cry. They’re all scatter-brained. They are ALL obsessed with flashlights.
I discovered that whether or not a mom knows all the words to the Justin Bieber songs, our daughters are all about the same. None of us are perfect. We were each little girls once, whether it was in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. And we are all doing the best we can with what we have and what we know.
We all agreed it was easier to cook the meals ourselves than to watch our 3rd graders drop ingredients and make a mess of the kitchen.
And gosh darn it, they liked my hashbrowns. It must have been the salt and pepper that I snuck into the skillet.
Ryley and I both made some new friends, and it was so, so wonderful. Considering I had been dreading this trip for months, I really enjoyed myself!
So here are some more pics:
The “bunk-bed talk,” in which the girls “expressed concerns” regarding the need for each of them to sleep on a top bunk (aka World War III).
Friends eating S’Mores:
Good morning, Mommy! (from the top bunk)
Ryley and her group learned how to build a shelter:
In other news, Friday was the last day of school, and Ryan accompanied Ryley on her field day! She received the “Bookworm Award” from her teachers, which is extremely fitting!
Miss Stupansky with Ryley and her friend Emma!
Miss Neufeld too:
And on to 3rd grade we go!!!!
Happy Memorial Day weekend!