“Can we go camping? Can we go camping?”
This weekend, Garrett found his old Barney video, “A Camping We Will Go” from the first season of Barney. It was episode 22 and originally aired on May 5, 1992. Yes, I googled it.
It’s the one where Tina (no relation) gets lost in the woods, hugs a tree and blows a whistle. I’m sure you’re familiar with it. No? Well, come to my house because Garrett can act the whole show out for you. He has watched it 10,000 times.
“What was that?” Charlie asked.
“Garrett did you find a whistle?” I shouted out the window. I was certain I had tossed the twenty five Yo Gabba Gabba whistles Aunt Patty had thoughtfully bought for Garrett’s birthday piñata.
“I hug a tree!” he shouted back to me. “I go camping!”
“It’s your turn to sleep in the backyard,” Charlie reminded me.
“Sorry, it’s a school night.”
“Can we build a tent?” Garrett asked.
“No, but I will put the sleeping bag on your floor. You can camp out in your room.”
“Can I build a campfire?”
“Not in the house, Garrett.”
It continued all day Sunday.
“Do you have marshmallows?”
“Awww. Do you have a flash light?”
“Awww. Do you have smores?”
“I already said no marshmallows and no campfire.”
“Awww. Can I pack a bag?”
“That you can do!”
Garrett grabbed his backpack and went to his room to pack his valuables. I enjoyed the ten minute reprieve from Twenty Questions.
On Monday morning, I woke my younger two sons up for elementary school. Autumn has finally arrived in Ohio and I grabbed my flannel PJ shirt to wear over my cotton nightgown. The pink snowman shirt didn’t exactly match my yellow flower nightgown, but no one was going to see me.
“Shh! Quiet!” I kept nagging the boys. If anything positive has come with SMS puberty, it is that Garrett is sleeping in late.
“No, don’t flush the toilet! You can hear the pipes upstairs.” There are 90 minutes between the elementary bus and Garrett’s middle school bus.
“No, don’t wash your hands! Use some hand sanitizer.” I like to spend some of that time alone with my coffee mug.
“Here’s your backpack. Hold onto the screen door. Don’t let it slam behind you.” Two down, one still in bed and the coffee was done brewing.
The boys came back inside.
“Did you miss the bus?” Now I was going to have to wake up Garrett and drive them to school.
“No, it’s cold outside. We need our jackets.” Off came the backpacks. I dug through the closet and found the hoodies. There were coat hanger marks on the shoulders because the jackets had been hanging since May. I pushed them down as if that was the equivalent of ironing them.
“There ya go. Looks good! And don’t forget to watch the screen door.”
Gone again. Time for that coffee. Finally.
I turned around and saw my youngest son’s backpack next to the closet.
Oh, no. I was not driving to school.
I snatched it off the floor and raced outside. The screen door slammed behind me. I shouted my son’s name while waving the bag over my head. The concrete felt like ice on my bare feet. Good thing I had my pink flannel snowman shirt on.
I shouted his name again just as he reached the bus steps. He turned around and looked at me.
There are no words to describe his expression. He did not acknowledge me in any way. No words, no smiles, no positive…or negative…movement of his head. He just turned around and walked calmly up the steps.
And I saw his Mario backpack on his shoulder.
I brought the bag in my hand down for a look-see.
I was holding Garrett’s “camping backpack.”
I hate that purple dinosaur.