So I’m happy to report that the kids not only survived camp but had a fabulous time. Apparently the first night was a little touch-and-go: Newt wanted to come home very badly, and Elfie got stung by a bee. But they sucked it up, and the memorable stories have been trickling out of them since they got home.
This is going to be a bit of a brag post, so feel free to jump ship now. Personally, that kind of thing bugs the crap out of me. But (it’s always “but”) I’m just really proud of the way the kids are turning out.
They were regaling us with cabin stories the other night. Apparently Newt’s officially learned the “Your momma is so. . .” joke (which just about made him burst his spleen). Elfie had some story about a girl who wouldn’t shut her trap, so the cabin leader stuck her outside in her sleeping bag (I can’t wait to find this woman and give her a bottle of wine). And then Newt started talking about crushes.
The kids are big on crushes right now (they’re 9 and 10). Anyway, one night in their cabin, the boys were making fun of the girls they had crushes on. And then they started giving each other a hard time by saying this boy was that boy’s crush and that boy was this boy’s crush…
And in the course of these stories, Newt said two things:
“I’m like, if you like a girl, you shouldn’t say bad things about her like that. I mean, she’s your crush. Come on. That’s so disrespectful. This is the person you like.”
“I said, guys, quit being stupid. You’re making people feel bad. I mean, if you’re gay, then fine. But otherwise…”
My husband had a smile on his face like he’d just been given a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but couldn’t let anyone know. I’m sure I looked the same. Our 10-year-old has already figured out that being gay is just part of who someone is, and it’s no big deal. And that you treat women with respect. I mean, unless there’s a “Your momma” joke involved.
And then there’s Elfie. She was at a birthday party a few weeks ago, and somehow the topic of god came up. She said she didn’t believe in god, and one of the other little girls gasped and said, “You’re going…” while pointing her thumb down.” Elfie responded, “Well, I’d have to believe in hell to go there, so it’s not a problem.”
This is what I mean about my kids being better people than I am. They have no problem telling people what they think. They’re proud of their beliefs. The funny part is, I know we’ve taught them this, and yet, we’re the ones who have that moment of hesitation when the topic of religion or gay rights comes up. We’re the ones who might let something slide for the sake of “harmony,” even when we really should’ve spoken up.
And I know — they haven’t experienced the big bad world nearly as much as we have. They haven’t been face-to-face with the crackpot NRA guy or the “God hates fags” anti-abortionist. But they’re getting there. They’ve seen some of it. And they’re still not deterred.
I have a friend who always says, “The tree doesn’t fall far from the apple,” whenever I tell her these stories. And she’s right. Someday, when I grow up, hopefully I’ll be just like my kids.