A New Chef in the Kitchen

Riley has very much enjoyed summer camp this summer. Last year she enjoyed it but mostly because they had Roblox on the computers. This year, though, she has gotten into the themes of the weeks and the activities much more. My personal favorite theme this summer was the week that they wrote fairy tales and Riley wrote about a daring princess who saves all her friends along with her sidekick, the pretty boy. Of course, in true Riley fashion, they did still get married and have a baby at the end.

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A Week in the Woods

Story and I have had very different childhoods. I grew up in a log cabin my dad built surrounded by woods. Story has grown up in our little yellow storybook home on a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. We had dirt roads; Story has pavement. I could visit my grandma whenever I wanted; she was only a short walk away. Story’s visits to her grandma take planning and a lot of driving and are not nearly long or often enough. My summers were spent at home exploring the woods and living the adventures of my imagination. Story’s summers are in camps, exploring what Bloomington has to offer and living the adventures of someone else’s imagination. And then our childhoods collided this past week.

Story spent the week at my parents’ house — the house I grew up in, surrounded by the same woods and experiencing the same timelessness of summer. And she was there without me.

It was the first time I had gone days without seeing or speaking to my child. The dogs did not like it at all, and when I got home from work, they spent a whole twenty minutes telling me all about how Grandma kidnapped Story and didn’t take them. There was much whining and grumbling.

I was immediately restless and called her the very next day. I told her to call me if she missed me. She didn’t. I really missed that kid! Even with the dogs’ complaining, it was too quiet here.

I finally got to pick her up Friday night, and the ungrateful miss didn’t even meet my car with her arms outstretched in need of a mom hug — certainly not fulfilling my daydreams of our reunion. She merely looked up and said, “Oh, hi, Mom.” Le sigh.

She had quite the week. She went fishing with Peepaw and caught catfish and bass. She got her own room at Brooke’s house, and they decorated it. She and Grandma made oobleck and cooked together. They went to the zoo. Story practiced her bow. She had a chance to be bored, though I’m not sure she was. She got to stay up late every night and sleep in every morning. She got to experience a bit of my childhood, and I am so grateful for that.

Story found it very difficult to leave. She’s never been good at goodbyes, but this time struck her especially hard. Before she would get in the car, she made me promise that she could stay for two weeks next summer.