Packing and theTeenage Male

PackingI spent a goodly part of one week helping Pedro pack for his 10 day trip to Teen Pact Venture in Tennessee.

With 5 days on the road there and back and another 5 days at camp – it seemed to me that he needed a little guidance.

I helped him find more jeans, a suit coat, dress slacks, a outfit for golf and raided his dad’s t-shirts to make sure he had enough.

I carefully counted and folded and made nice piles for him.

I even bought him new underwear.

All the while there was this annoying little thought that kept coming back – “Why am I doing this? Pedro is a teenage boy who has been known to wear the same clothes for days at time…”

But the mother in me couldn’t let it go.

I was even kinda proud as he drove off on his adventure because I knew that he was prepared.

It didn’t last long.

I was brought back to reality within minutes of picking him up after his return trip.

He looked good and was sharing story after story of his time away – laughing and joking with his siblings.

Finally the mother in me just couldn’t wait any longer – so I asked him, “How did your clothes work out? Did you have enough of everything?”

“Well”, he responded, “I basically wore these jeans pretty much all week.”

(His sisters slide further away from him on the van seat.)

“What!” (I’m remembering all those trips up and down the attic stairs digging through his winter clothes to find enough jeans) “How about t-shirts? Did you have enough t-shirts?”

“I had way too many – I really only needed a couple.”

“A couple!” (You were gone 10 days! What about my neat little piles of carefully folded and counted shirts?!)

“Oh dear. What about your underwear? Did you have enough… No! Stop! Don’t answer that. I really don’t want to know.”

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Next time I’ll let him pack himself. 🙂

Packing Up

We’re going camping this weekend – just like we do every July 4th weekend.

We’ll pack up and meet my family at a state park where we will all get sunburned, eat way too much chocolate, and laugh so much we cry.

Sounds wonderful doesn’t it?!

It is wonderful!

That is – it’s wonderful – once we get past the “pack up” part and are on the road!

I don’t like packing. There’s a lot of stuff needed when you pack up 7 people for 4 days of camping.

So many things to find – little shampoo bottles for everyone, old towels that can get sandy and dirty (but not so old that they embarrass me!), old shoes, old clothes, and then there’s all the food!

There’s a lot of stuff you can forget.

I decided some time ago that each child would need to be responsible to pack themselves. What they pack is what they live with for the weekend.

If they forget their swimsuit – they don’t go swimming.

If they forget their tennis shoes – they will hike in flip flops.

If they forget their toothbrush – well, um – we’ll just make sure they sleep in another cabin! 🙂

Sound hard core? Maybe – but so far it’s working! They’ve handled the responsibility well. They may have forgotten things, but they figured out how to function without them – and it wasn’t Mom’s fault. 🙂

But still – packing isn’t without it’s stresses. Have you ever noticed that things just “disappear” when you start to pack?

One son lost all the shorts in his dresser – they just disappeared?! Just a month ago he had enough shorts for a week long camp – now he’s down to just 2 pairs?

Is it just me – or does this sound vaguely familiar?

But we’ll keep pushing through. A wonderful weekend with some of my favorite people on earth is well worth it!

So little by little things get crossed off the list and the pile by the door gets bigger.

Oh dear.

That pile by the door – somehow we need to get it all in the mini-van!

Have I mentioned that I really don’t like packing!