Actual Fairy House, Photo by Kelli Agodon, Fairy Scientist (2010)
Sometimes I realize how much I can take for granted.
I also realize how cranky I can get over things that don't deserve any energy. I've come to realize that when I feel as if my tolerance is low and people are acting in annoying ways, then the perspective that needs to be changed is usually my own.
Since I noticed this trend taking place this last week, I've decided to focus on being grateful as I confess this week. I am just back from spending a week in the woods with 90 Girl Scouts, their leaders, and one not-so-nice woman I nicknamed "Patches." While I am not a Girl Scout Leader (honestly, after seeing what these women do, there is absolutely no way I could be one, they are amazing...) I was a camp helper, hike leader, discoverer of the Enchanted Forest, beach walker, M&M keeper, Fairy Scientist, Square dancer, Craft Maker, and Van Driver. Now back home, I realize just how much I have to be thankful for.
So readers, let's go to the confessional and be thankful together--
1) I confess I am truly thankful for indoor plumbing and hot showers. Truly.
I do not realize how much I miss these luxuries until I am stranded in the woods with a "BIFFY" (Bathroom In Forest For You - basically an outhouse without a lock or light) and no hot water. It was so nice to come home, turn my shower to hot hot hot and bathe. And then the excitement of a toilet! A toilet, I say!
2) I confess I am truly thankful that I didn't grow up with an adult Patches in my life or have to deal with a Patches-person daily.
If I were to explain what a Patches-person is they would be the person who wants to suck all the fun out of any event by focusing too much on what you can't do. They are the adults who have grown up and forgotten what it's like to be 9 years old and how much fun it is to run and yell while getting to places, how much fun it is to stay up late because you're in a forest and can hear the waterfall tumbling into the saltwater and you are beneath more stars than you've ever seen in the city.
Patches-people act all-knowing, all the time, and be a thousand times more cranky than me even on my crankiest day (and I can be pretty cranky sometimes). Nope, she made my crankiness seem like elation.
Patches, thank you for reminding me how lucky I am to have the women in my life who are in my life. And that even when you're older it's still fun to run and yell and turn off your flashlight to find those glowing jellyfish in the dark while everyone sleeps.
3) Trail mix. Nuff said. It's awesome.
4) I confess when things go wrong, I make a joke. When one girl in our troop basically had a meltdown over um, nothing, I was sewing her a merit badge in my head: Best Performance in a Supporting Role.
I confess that this is how my family has always dealt with challenges. We add a little humor to the mix, to the funeral, the conflict, and it helps us get by. I am thankful for people who also laugh when life throws them a curveball right at their head.
My great-grandmother lived until 106. My Nana is currently 98. I swear one of the reasons the have lived so long is because they always found a reason to laugh.
5) I confess I never love my bed as much as I do when I return from camping. Don't get me wrong, I'm sounding a little Troop Beverly Hills in this post, but I love to camp. Normally in dry weather (it rained so much our first day, someone asked me if I had taken a shower as I was that wet) and normally not in April.
But as my husband reminds me, the reason camping is fun is because we have a home to return to.
Camping reminds us of all our luxuries around us--the space heater when we're cold, a closet of dry clothes, not just a refrigerator, but a pantry of anything-we-want-to-eat-at-anytime-of-the-day, all my books-dry without curved pages, windows to shut if the wind picks up, running water. While we weren't even completely roughing it there, we had "open-air cabins" (read: designer carports), it is a reminder of the small things in life that make me happy.
Quick list of the things we saw and a natural gratitude journal--
White baby seal and a family of seals
gunnels (long fish that look like eels, the girls caught these on the beach then let them go)
hermit crabs and not-hermit crabs
jellyfish that put on an incredible light show at night in the water
a forest that contained many fairy houses (see above photo)
the biggest garter snake I have ever seen in my life
2 shooting stars
the milky way, Orion's belt and other constellations
I confess that this camping trip made me excited for summer camping and also makes me think I need a shorter and easier-to-care for haircut... Amen.