I did it, guys. I tackled nature, even if it did have an electric outlet to charge my phone and my daughter's DS. Whatever, you have to start somewhere. I came with a tarp, plenty of marshmallows, Hershey's chocolate bars, and graham crackers to tow. I spent a week fretting that I would be the most unprepared camper in Brown County, but when it came down to it, whatever one was lacking, someone else shared willingly. Thank God for my small group!
The first night in our tent, it was me and the girls. Steve needed one more night home to finish up some work and finish off his third round of antibiotics to fight his nagging bronchitis. So, we hunkered down with our pink and purple sleeping bags on top of our air mattresses. We slept peacefully, although our air mattresses deflated and the bitter morning air shocked us to throw our extra blankets over our heads.
We woke up, ate muffins, and off we went on our first hike. Serene and sunny, the two mile hiking trail proved to be worth the view, until Alex fell once, then twice, three times, and of course, a fourth with a tantrum to mark each fall. Despite my fleeting patience, my pals encouraged and helped me along the way with my girl. I was indeed thankful. It gave me a chance to get some good advice from my dear friends on different possibilities that I could try to help her with her tantrums, etc...
I have always said that raising Alex has taught me what it really means to be a parent. She has not been an easy child, and I have said that some of it is because she's an only child and some of it is due to me learning how to love her in a way that she feels my love. I'm still figuring this out in bits and pieces, but I know God has sent just the people I need to me to help and encourage me along the way. I'm grateful beyond belief.
This year has proven to be exceptionally challenging for her. Losing TJ is something that she still cries about from time to time. At school, they asked me to look into testing her for a learning disability and ADD or ADHD. I explored each and every one of those areas; she tested above average in almost every area and didn't qualify for ADD or ADHD after doing the evaluations. We are still going to counseling, so as a family we are having a sounding board to help us through our difficulties this year, and we're very thankful for "Ms. Kelly." Alex is extremely social at home with her friends in the neighborhood and at church, but not so much at her school (she currently attends private school). She adores all the kids at her school, she doesn't have a bad word to say about anyone, but she doesn't engage with them in play, etc... This is not the child we see at home, at all. We are praying for God's direction in all of this. I may start looking into yoga, diet, anything.
On Day 2 of our camping extravaganza, Steve arrived. We made smores and hot dogs, laughed around the camp fire, and attempted a shower. Alex didn't sleep well, and it started to rain. Joy, one of partners in crime on this trip, was feeling a nasty sore throat and cold coming on. We were in battle! On the morning of Day 3, Steve and Brandi took the kids to McDonalds for breakfast (surprise, surprise). I drank coffee, read a People Magazine, chatted with my pals, and started to organize for the sojourn home.
Although we came home muddy and exhausted, it was worth it. We all have to get out of our every day bubbles and try something new, even if it is a little daunting. We need to step out of the little dramas and just breathe, jump in, and go for it. The laundry will get done and the dirt vaccumed up. We'll get some extra sleep and stock up on groceries. It will all be fine, but we all need a new perspective, a new experience from time to time. And for this, I'm glad we did it.
Much love to my small group! Love you lots. I seriously think BRAVO or A&E should create a show about our small group. We got some good stuff going on!
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