…or, The Teen goes Camping
If you go out in the woods today
You’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You’d better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic*
Despite Southwest and some dude trying to recreate the A&E show Airline, the Teen took off yesterday for the West Coast. According to the Girl Scout brochure, she’ll be camping, hiking, frolicking in waterfalls, and other stuff she normally channel surfs through on her way to Teen Nick. She also has to watch out for bears.
Picnic time for teddy bears,
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily dance about.
They love to play and shout.
And never have any cares!.
I think when she picked her trip this year, she thought it was like the year before when she went mall hopping and slept in an aquarium. She saw California, and most likely assumed that this trip was the one where she writes, creates, and stars in her own movie.
She’s going to spend a week in the woods. She’ll eat under the open sky, sleep under the open sky, and hopefully won’t run into any bears. The trip coordinator explained it this way:
We’re in THEIR homes, not the other way around.
Sleeping Beauty observed during a recent trip to DC that the Teen may be part bear because of the way she sleeps. It’s nothing for her to sleep until eleven, check the fridge or whatever pot may be on the stove, giggle on the phone for an hour then go back to sleep. But acting bear and speaking bear are two different things.
Handing her over to the flight attendant, I cried like Nancy Kerrigan**. I hugged her one last time and told her not to get eaten by a bear. The Teen chastised me as she shuffled her bags looking for her boarding pass. “Stop crying! It’s only a week! And no, the bears won’t get me!” Then she hugged me and the Boy and hopped on the plane like a pro.
I realize, I’m going to be a terrible emptynester.
At six o’clock their mommies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they’re tired little teddy bears!
My daughter is four inches taller than I am. She’s no longer curls in my lap and ask for a story. She has traded crayons for perfume. And I swear when we disagree, she becomes part tea kettle as she argues her point. Where did the time go? One day we’re in Build a Bear, the next, I’m hoping she won’t be a bear’s dinner.
I miss her already. When she is at home, she seems to be in that teenager purgatory. She doesn’t know how to control her emotions and she’s a raging ball of hormones. She can be a pain in the ass, most definitely. But she’s my pain. The Boy watched with me as the plane pulled off. He said he’s going to miss her, but so far, he’s been in a Mario and Luigi coma. Her absence will hit him tomorrow when he realizes he has no one to argue with.
Every teddy bear, that’s been good
Is sure of a treat today
There’s lots of wonderful things to eat
And wonderful games to play.
I speak to her when she was at a layover. She had gotten something to eat and was about to read a book, but wanted to check in. She sounded so far away, and for a split second, I could hear a bit of yearning for her mommy. Then she told me she had to go and I held the phone for a moment before hanging up.
I missed her call when she gets to California. Lack of coffee and frazzled nerves knocks me out. The Mister shakes me awake and tells me she’s there, and okay. Groggy, I get up and ask the kids what they feel like for dinner. The kids are the Boy and Bubbles! I tell the Boy to ask his sister what she wants and realize my faux pas. He and Bubbles! look at me like I’m nuts, and finish playing a video game while telling stories about the Teen, like she’s gone for good.
Listening to them talk about the nice things she has done and funny stories makes me realize how we take for granted those around us. I trip over some shoes she left in the middle of the floor and momentarily forget that I miss her. I take them up to her room and look at the packing aftermath. Sitting on her bed for a moment, I notice that it’s extra quiet without the phone ringing nonstop and no shouts of “Out of my room!”
The Mister stops in the door and looks at me. “She’ll be back getting on your nerves before you know it.” This is all too true.
Fat Mittens jumps onto the bed and cries. I scratch behind her ear and feel my eyes getting wet.
I think I found someone who may miss her more than both me and the Boy.
Beneath the trees, where nobody sees
They’ll hide and seek as long as they please
Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic
* Teddy Bear’s Picnic
**South Park, Episode 112 – Mecha Streisand
Cartman: …and I told him. I said, ‘Kyle, I will kick you in the nuts.’ But he didn’t give it back to me. So I kicked him square – in the nuts, and he cried – like Nancy Kerrigan!