I spent the night outside last night. A very miserable, cold, sleepless night. Because, contrary to popular belief, Florida is not always warm this time of year. It may be warm to some of you who live in the Midwest or New England, but you have not been schooled in the ways of humidity and the misery it can inflict upon those of us who are forced to sleep outside with air temperatures in the 50s and high levels of humidity. Not only is it cold, it's wet. It's a wet cold. Ugh.
Two months ago, I was notified of this big Girl Scout camp-out. Elle was really excited, to the point of wiggling on the day of. The day temps were in the 80s and the sun was shining - perfect weather for 20+ little girls to play off their energy with games of Tug-Of-War, sack races, bobbing for apples, and generally running 'til they dropped. Elle was warned months ago that I would NOT be sleeping over (my mother never stayed over with me during camp-outs) and she was overheard telling her friends that "It's much more funner when your mom's not there!", referring to me and her ability to get away with things during my absence (and earning her the nickname More Eller). Because I wasn't going to spend the night, I did volunteer to attend the daytime activities. By 9:30 I was wiped out and could feel the temperature and Elle's confidence in sleeping in a tent without me take a drastic turn downward.
"Please, please spend the night with me!", she cried. Yep, CRIED.
Freakin' guilt trips.
Elle had my only sleeping bag so I had to drive home to pull a comforter out of my closet, throw a pillow in the car, and scramble for some cozy socks to wear to sleep. I packed an unopened bottle of Scope and a warm, fleece hoodie. I was good to go. By the time I returned to the camp-out, the kids were in their pajamas and had their sleeping areas all set up. They are all as cute as buttons but, dammit, can they ever be territorial! My littlest tentmates showed me where I was going to be sleeping for the night and tried to make me feel better by telling me that I had windows in my room.
My room? Yeah, it was basically the front porch section of the four-person tent. And, yes, I did have windows but they had no zipper closures. The windows didn't close. Fat chance, kiddos. I'm moving' in with you!!!
So I did. When the girls fell asleep after 12:30 (!!!), I hung out by the fire to absorb as much warmth as possible (those of you who know me well know that I am NEVER warm) and braved the bedtime blues by pulling my hoodie over my head and tightening the strings around my face so that only my nose was exposed. I folded my comforter in two (for poofiness!) next to my daughter and clutched onto my little fleece blankie for dear life. Then I spent the next 6 hours wide awake, shivering and mumbling about what a ****ing nightmare this was and...
What the hell? Why is Leticia sitting straight up and yelling about "Those darn kids!" while ruffling through her overnight bag? Why is Leticia digging through her loud, crinkly sleeping bag and arguing with it because it made her forget something at home? Oh, crap - she's one of those kids. One of those kids who should be tied to her bed when she's asleep at home to prevent her from running around the house at night building robots or making cheesecake in her sleep or some shit. So when I wasn't freaking out about the owls hovering and hooting overhead, I was keeping a watchful eye on Leticia and trying to keep her from unzipping the tent and wandering into the woods. Oy!
The campfire was still burning when I finally climbed out of the tent around 7am. Our girls stayed asleep for another hour or so and the troop leader was wonderful to have the coffee/creamer/sugar all prepared for us. The kids woke up and immediately hit the hot chocolate (another wonderful troop leader idea) with marshmallows (self-serve!) and they were just so cute. So, so cute!! Breakfast was amazing and I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time.
Yes, even I did. I'm sure Elle will always remember her first time camping and that her mom was there with her. She'll also always remember her first time burning a marshmallow and making a real s'more, or painting pumpkins with twenty of her closest friends, and having the biggest damn slumber party of her life! Seriously, as miserable as I was, I do believe it was worth it.
My "room", with windows!
Elle. Pumpking painting.
Bobbing for apples!
And, finally...how cute!