Thursday, August 23, 2012

Skunks, S'mores and Dayquil

      Last week I started coughing. There have been wildfires burning in the area so I assumed it was the smoke. That cough turned into a violent choking hack. Most moms will tell you that part of the job is working when sick. Infecting your kids and other family is one thing. But we did have a birthday party to go to. I felt sick and guilty at the same time when I had to tell my Fish that we couldn't go. She was crying and telling me how we never have any fun. Missing her daddy probably added to the breakdown, but it still hurt. The second problem was that we had a camping trip planned. I love to camp. My whole life I've been camping with my parents and those adventures are my best memories. My husband and I were excited to give our kids those same memories. The plan was to come home from the birthday party, grab the fully packed bags and leave. As you could probably guess, that didn't happen either. Our reservations started on Sunday. But I was curled in a ball on the couch, letting the kids go crazy. When bedtime rolled around my Fish came to me with tears in her eyes. "I miss daddy, he'd make sure we had fun. But you're sick so we'll never have fun again" Yeah.....I know. She's only six, she doesn't realize what she says. IT DOESN'T HURT LESS. It still made me feel like a bad mom. And that she was kind of a punk for saying it. So I put them all to bed and packed our suitcases. I packed the van while they slept so that when I the woke up we could leave. I rationalized "I have Dayquil, and it is only until Thursday...I'll survive".

  *Note to the readers: Always check caps when packing sticky liquids* 
      Are we there yet? Is that the ocean? Are we there yet? I have to go pee? I'm hungry! Are we there yet? 7am, 3 kids, 3 hour drive. Actually with extra stops it was 4 hours...but who's counting when we're having SO MUCH FUN! (yes, that was sarcasm). When we arrived at camp I was so relieved to see my parents. They had set up camp and my dad automatically took the kids for a nature walk. I needed Dayquil. I had a brand new bottle, which included an extra 20%! Unfortunately, all 120% had poured out inside my $80 overnight bag. Then my brand new pants snagged on the trailer and ripped a  large hole on my backside. Does anyone else think these were signs of doom??? Me too. But I kept trying, because that is what a real mom does. My mom made an amazing dinner on the campfire. The kids couldn't wait to get to the jumbo marshmallows I brought for s'mores. But when the cracker broke under the huge did Fish. She refused to eat the melty, gooey treat and threw it into the fire. This was the moment I finally saw the signs. I sent her to bed and the other kids followed soon after. My mom confirmed for me that the signs were there. She told me "You shouldn't have come, you're too sick and getting worse" No, my mom doesn't sugar coat. As we sat around the fire we could hear something behind us. A bold skunk was in our campsite searching for food. This little stinker didn't care that we were there. He clearly knew the power of his weapon. My dad saw his boldness as a challenged and made it his mission to scare him away.

Fish and Butterfly exploring nature

       The next day I took the kids to see the tide pools and seal rock. No amount of caffeine could keep me going though. I was still on the fence about trying to muscle through to Thursday....until the battle started. The kids were in bed and again we sat around the fire. That was when the skunk returned. My dad declared war and began using a large shovel as a spear. He would throw the shovel into the brush hoping to hit the skunk. Our skunk was smarter than my father imagined.......he came back with a friend, a bigger friend. They came from opposite directions and they were not afraid. That was when I decided it was time to go home. As we made our way to the trailer the skunks disappeared into the brush. Apparently they had put out the woodland buddy emergency call, because 2 raccoons came into our campsite next. My dad put down his shovel and apologized into the night air. He was out numbered...but never beaten.
       I'm home now and still sick, but I did learn from this trip. It's ok not to be the perfect mom.They may be disappointed...but they'll get over it. I'm glad that we went even if the trip was shortened by 2 days. The kids got dirty and I had front row seats to Battle Skunk. Our next camping trip will need to include my husband though. I can do it without him...I just don't want to. We have 4 days of summer left. I'll try to make the best of it without him. But I am aware today of my limitations and weakness. It's the Butte County Fair opening today (conveniently in our small town)and I think a corn dog would help this cough!