There are many things you can learn at camp. How to take a fish off a hook (although I already knew this of course because of my incredible outdoorswomanship), how to cook Bisquick biscuits over hot coals and clean up for the "pioneer lady" because she doesn't want to do it herself and how to cut the umbilical cord of your 10 year old daughter. I was certain I had done this cutting 10 years ago but somehow it got reattached. God love her.
I learned some time ago that if you're speaking about a person who makes you a bit nuts but you just have to talk it out then it's ok to say just about anything about this person as long as you follow it up with "God love her" or "God bless her heart" or something like that. This, I hear, is how people in the South talk about their crazy relatives.
I had a couple of apprehensions about camping with Maya and Eva's entire 4th grade as a chaperone but my real fear was more about Maya and Eva. I was going to be with them in the cabin, at mealtimes and during activities. This is a lot of together time for us. Ok, it was a lot of together time for me. And on field trips of the past they usually literally attach themselves to me and won't let go. This can be a little distressing. I can handle others people's kids but my own can be a little overwhelming.
Now Maya I wasn't very worried about. She's a little aloof with her emotional attachments, like her mother. On one of those email chain-letter questionaires that get passed around that ask questions like "Do you prefer hugs or kisses?" I answered "why? Do I have to?" So Maya like me is more comfortable coming after her hugs when she needs them.
Eva on the other hand would prefer to be still entombed in the sanctity of my womb with the umbilical cord wrapped around her. The closer the better. She still wants her freedom mind you but she'd be much happier if she could drag me along by umbilical cord, me scraggling behind her. This can be a problem for me sometimes because I don't require that kind of physical closeness or hand-holding. As a matter of fact, I don't require any holding what-so-ever. I prefer NOT to be held. I might even ask "why are you holding me?" "Could you stop touching me?" and "Tim were done already, now back off sweetie." (Sorry, TMI) But you get the idea. This sometimes perplexes me as my mother is Italian and I've been exposed to Italian aunts who hug and kiss. I guess my dad's German heritage showed up in me as I'd prefer to just punch someone in the arm as a greeting. Anyway....
At first Eva did great. I made an effort not to walk right next to her so she can hang with kids in her group and not on me. Well, it didn't last long. Before the end of the first day she was walking next to me holding my arm with one hand and wrapping her arm around my back and rubbing my back in a reassuring circular motion. She'd say things like "you're doing great mom" as we walked several places to various activities. It was great to have that reassurance because I've only been walking on my own for about 39 years now. God love her.
So, by the end of the next day she was driving me crazy. I was literally peeling her off me by the second evening and by the third day I was saying "get back, Eva, give me some space!" God bless her heart.
There was a girl in our cabin that must be extracting that same phrase from her parents on a daily basis or at least some other expletives. It became obvious to me that this girl was used to having things done for her and if there was a pea under her mattress in her bunk she would detect it. She was also used to everything going her way, being the one in charge and always being first to any and all food that was placed in front of her. We had a few disagreements. God love her. For some reason God put her in every one of my groups! God love himself. What was HE THINKING!? This is the only other person in camp besides my daughters that was in EVERY group I had. (Did I say that already?) And by the third day I was ready to strangle her. God help me.
Now I consider myself to be a fairly rational, pragmatic and considerate person but at breakfast the third day I "Mrs. Robinson" told her "Betty" (I will not be using real names to protect myself) that a person did not need to put "dibs" on the ketchup bottle as soon as she saw the hash browns coming out of the kitchen because there was enough to go around unless of course she was planning on eating all the ketchup herself (Ok, I didn't actually say that last part but I was thinking it - really hard) and that it really wasn't all about her and maybe she should try to think of others first. (I, "Mrs. Robinson" did say that part.) She at least sat down in her seat then and we passed the food around the table. This was the most civilized we had been at our table the whole time.
God love me.