So, unlike many mothers, my wife has to actually deal with our children during summer vacation.
This week, that meant signing them up for Girl Scout day camp. Before y’all point out that my son hardly qualifies for Girl Scouts, I should hasten to add that they have programs for younger siblings. My wife signed up as an adult volunteer as well. However if this strategy was intended to reduce the wife’s workload, it has failed miserably.
For one thing, they all have to get up earlier than they did during the school year. When they get home, shortly before dinner, they are strung out and exhausted. To add insult to injury, the wife has to immediately start doing laundry because they all have to wear their day-glo orange ‘camp shirt’ every single day.
So, it hasn’t exactly been what you would call ‘relaxing’ for my wife. Yesterday, however, was the precise diametric opposite of relaxing.
As I understand it, sometime after lunch, it became obvious that one of the groups of girl scouts was AWOL. They had gone on a hike up the neaby hill and hadn’t returned. What’s more, a second group that had climbed the same hill later hadn’t run into them on the trail. Leaders scurried about, and a fire drill was hastily arranged to bring everybody to a central location. There was a headcount, and this group was not present. However, organizations like Girl Scouts have plans for these sorts of eventualities, so, the kids were contained in one location while adults were sent out on search missions to try and find the missing group.
Of course, our daughter happened to be in the group that was lost.
My wife, who usually keeps a remarkably level head, was gripped by a feeling of doom that she could not shake. She was gripped by visions of our daughter wandering off away from the group, and the rest of the girls getting lost trying to find her. As the day wore on, she grew more and more stressed. This wasn’t helped by the many young girl scouts coming to give her tearful hugs of support.
Finally, one of the leaders got a phone call from the lost tribe. They had come down off the hill on the wrong side, had been completely turned around, couldn’t get a cell phone or walkie-talkie signal, and had walked until they finally found a house out in the woods where they could get some drinking water and orient themselves. Their location was quickly determined, and several cars set out to retrieve them. Everyone seemed to be fine except for one scout that had twisted her ankle and couldn’t walk on it.
Yes, it was my daughter. She had twisted her ankle not once, but twice, the last time pretty severely. So the first I heard about any of this was when I got the phone call from Mrs. Agent at Immediate Care, where they were getting X-rays.
To make a long story shorter, the girl has to stay off her ankle for at least a week, the wife is a nervous wreck, and I had to run out and buy crutches at 9:00 last night because my wife’s pair was too tall for the girl. Nevertheless, all three of them were packing up to return to camp today, with their bright orange shirts freshly washed, my daughter’s crutches thumping on the floor, and dark circles under my wife’s eyes.
I note that today is the first day of summer. If yesterday was any sort of harbinger of what we can expect, it’s going to be quite a long summer indeed.
Oh. My. God. That would send me round the bend. Hugs for your wife (if she wants them), ice packs for the daughter. I’m glad the girls were lucky enough to find a house. Perhaps a little bit of training on the concept of “If you’re lost, SIT DOWN!” would be in order? I know it’s hard for kids to think that way but it’s the best thing to do.
Actually, there were two adults and two older scouts leading the group. The older girls were leading, and the adults happened to be unfamiliar with this camp. By the time the adults realized they were astray, they were already lost.
My wife assures me that the older scouts will NEVER live this down, and that the story will be retold over and over whenever girl scouts gather around the campfire to make s’mores.