Last weekend, I took my daughter's Girl Scout Troop (comprised of seventeen 10 year-old girls) on a two-night trip to the White Pines Dude Ranch. Did I want to spend my weekend sleeping on a bunk bed, eating peanut butter and jelly for every meal, hoping against hope that I did not contract lice, not sleeping more than two hours at a time, all the while knowing that I was responsible for the well-being of all of these girls for over 48 hours? Not particularly. But I am sure glad I did.
In the weeks leading up to this trip (which I also made last year -- so I was aware of what awaited me), I began the mental preparation process. This process involves a fair amount of complaining and anxiety over all of the things that could go wrong. Many, many people said to me, "Why are you doing this? This sounds terrible."
So why am I doing things like this? I started to really think about that question. There are a million reasons not to spend one's weekend on trips like this. I am busy. I have two other kids. I work. I don't really know how to camp. My horseback riding experience is pretty limited. I like to sleep in real beds. I really, really worry about lice.
Any mom could offer up these same reasons as to why this trip should be a no.
But as busy adults, I think that we sometimes forget that childhood memories are made in moments like this. Kids don't necessarily remember the seemingly endless parade of school days. Sure, you tuck them in each night -- but that all runs together for them. However, they do remember the first time they rode a horse. They remember their first sleepover. They will remember if you were there.
On the bus on the way home from our trip, my daughter came up to me and gave me a hug and said, "I am so glad that you are the mom who comes on the trips. Because now we have this great memory together that we can talk about when we are older."
And that is why I go on the Girl Scout camping trips. There are a million reasons not to go, but none of them are more convincing than a little girl pointing out that you were lucky to have this really fun experience together. She couldn't be more right.
If you have a chance to go on a similar excursion with your child, go. Make the time. You have plenty of nights to sleep in your own boring bed at home. But your kids aren't going to remember those nights when they are older.
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