This isn’t a real post. It’s just a quick update on Hailey because my grandparents complain that the cats get more play on this blog than my nine-year-old. And they have a point. This one’s for you, granny.
I’ve been a bit MIA because Hailey was at sleep-away camp and I spent each evening rocking in a fetal position while every slasher film I’ve ever seen ran through my mind. At the end of the week, however, we drove up with the grandparents and found Hailey, alive, filthy, overjoyed and ready to show off the horseback riding skills she’d picked up at the ranch. I was a bit nervous because Hailey takes after me when it comes to grace and she’d already good-naturedly accepted an award for (no shit) “MOST PRONE TO FALLING OFF THINGS.”
This camp was already old when Victor went there himself 30 years ago and apparently few things have changed. It’s basically one of those camps where the kids sort of learn to fend for themselves and recover from helicopter-parents by hurting themselves a lot in the same stupid ways we did when we were kids with no real boundaries.
A few highlights from camp…
Things said by the adorable and very young counselors when they were discussing how the activities had gone:
Yoga: “None of us had ever done yoga before so we let the kids teach us how to do roundoffs instead. Later we found a yoga book in the van.”
Candy-making: “We couldn’t find any supplies for candy-making so instead we just walked the kids to the store and bought them popsicles. One day we tried to make some candy but it wasn’t cooking fast enough so we turned the oven up to 500 degrees and that didn’t work out at all. On competition day we broke a chocolate bar into pieces to see who could spit their piece of chocolate the furthest.”
Movie-making: “I just basically turned on the camera and let them do what they wanted.” Then they showed the movie. It was 10 minutes of screaming girls tracking a panther by tasting the urine it was spraying out all over the place.
Skits: We actually got to watch the skits and they were fascinating. My favorite line was by Hailey’s nine-year-old cabin-mate who was giving helpful advice to a young girl who was pining for her lost summer camp puppy-love: “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS. THIS IS CAMP. GET TOUGH OR DIE.”
Hailey told us about her horse (The Professor) whom she loved even though she’d originally been assigned to another horse. When I asked why she’d switched to The Professor she told me, “It started raining and two of his shoes fell off so I had to use another horse.” I don’t even know what to say about this.
In the end we sat in the bleachers to watch the camp rodeo and the horses all seemed lovely and healthy, and I nervously tightened Hailey’s riding helmet to help with the inevitable fall she’d probably take while barrel-racing.
But she didn’t fall.
And this is her at the exact moment that she found out she’d gotten the fastest time in her division:
It’s also the same moment she begged to be able to come back again every summer for the rest of her life.
I couldn’t say no to that look of glee, even though I might not survive the worry. But I just took a deep breath and nodded and reminded myself of some good advice I’d recently heard. “For Christ’s sake, Lois. This is camp. Get tough or die.”
PS. In these kinds of rodeos you don’t win trophies. Instead you win belt buckles. It’s like a trophy you wear over your genitals. I don’t entirely understand the draw but it’s hard to argue with this face.