Lofty Expectations Made Me An Unhappy Camper

Lofty Expectations Made Me An Unhappy Camper
Follow Celeste T. Parker on Twitter @PigsDwPearls

By Celeste T. Parker

When this girly girl changed her Facebook status to “going camping” a universal LOL ensued. 

Think Paris Hilton on the reality show, The Simple Life.  With more sense, fewer dollars, and about the same love of all things fabulous I would seemingly fare about as well as she.  To all my, ahem—friends’ surprise and with my own Capricorn determination I packed a few...ok, what I deemed necessary—items. 

Pearls, zebra print weekend bag and matching black and white high-heeled Converse in hand, I set out to climb every mountain. 

Other than fatigue from trailer slumber similar to The Princess and the Pea, I was fueled by adrenaline and the challenge of it all. 

I shucked corn by day and roasted s’mores by night.   I enjoyed the unusually moderate temps, not too hot, not too cold.  I was comforted by the scenic lakes, perfect blue and white sky backdrop and forest green matting.  I bonded with my beloved aunt.  I had such a good time that not only did I chronicle it on Facebook, but I thought it was a wonderful chapter of my family’s history.  So much so, I wanted to share the experience with my long lost sister of sorts.  Although flowers that came into full bloom under the pruning of our different mothers, we are the seeds of the same father.  Little did I know that the second trek back to the trailer with sis in tow would be more like ragweed in the midst of a beautiful garden, choking the life out of it.

As it turns out, instead of joining my aunt and me on the deck’s lounge chairs, my sister would have preferred a drink at the local lounge.  This city girl could not get down with the country.  She didn’t pitch a tent, but rather a loud fit at every suggestion of solitude.  The corn festival in which attendees received free husks to celebrate the harvest was a sweet treat, but to her it was, well, corny.  It should have been no shock then that she also passed on joining everyone around the campfire because as she sourly spat out, “I don’t eat sweets.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no Honey Boo Boo, but my focus is on family.

By inviting my sister I was simply trying to bring us together, to create some order within our dysfunction.  I was left feeling “dissed” and have since come to the realization that it’s not my “function” to mediate or mend my kinfolk.  School was out, but I learned a valuable lesson.  Change the math curriculum all you want, apply the old or new math—either way you can never make up for lost time. 

A negative plus a positive equals a negative.  As a teacher this was my last summer hurrah.  It was met with boos and hisses.  I forgot to pack my water resistant heart and as the tears fell, my good time was ruined.  A negative plus a negative, be it numbers or attitudes will also yield a negative result.  Smokey the Bear himself would be the first to tell you that you can’t fight fire with fire.  It is best to extinguish the flames by keeping cool. 

I love my sister and my family, but next time I think I’ll pack much lighter, with fewer expectations.   

And I am positive that our next family reunion will be in more neutral, northern territory.    

Etiquette Correspondent Celeste Parker is an educator and author of 'Pigs Don't Wear Pearls' Bedtime Stories That Awaken Your Child to the Gem That Lies Within. Follow Celeste on Twitter @PigsDWPearls.

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