So the month of June has gone by in a giant, confusing, achy and slightly embarassing blur. I work with the teenage girls in my ward (aka church group), about fifty of them. Fifty. Wow. That's alot. Sometimes we divide up into groups - I'm over the 14 and 15 year olds, in which case we have about 18, which is still a lot when you're trying to do something like bake bread or weed a flower garden.There's no such thing as a small activity any more. And in the past three weeks we've gone to camp (where the fifty joined about 200 others), a pageant, and a youth conference (where we had a bunch of very "spirited" boys thrown into the mix).
Oh my gosh, I am sooo tired. I'm weaning myself back from two naps a day between activities to just one. I kept wondering why older ladies like myself were chosen to go on these wild and very physical activities with such energetic young things. By the end of the youth conference I figured it out. It actually dawned on me while watching my friend Marsha - roughly my age - showing off the very classy "swim" move on the dance floor, surrounded by a bunch of amused teens. It goes back to that freedom of the fourties I wrote about earlier - the younger ladies are still worrying about looking good. Those of us in our fourties who are still (barely) able to keep up, don't mind making a fool of ourselves while we're doing it (note: change 'don't mind' to 'are willing'.)
For example, while fixing a plate of food at camp, I pushed the main course to the side to make room for salad, and dumped half my food on the table. I looked around, no one was watching, so I quickly cleaned up after myself. But then I heard my dear daughter's voice, "I saw that Mom." She was right behind me, grinning.
"Shoot," I said, "I thought I got away with that one."
"No," she assured me, "I see all the dorky things you do. Like when you tripped over that rock over there."
I didn't even remember the rock. But I believed her. I'd been tripping and stumbling over things all week. Dorky was kind of my theme. And while I couldn't remember the rock, I knew there was something else she didn't know about...I just couldn't remember what it was. Until I sat down to dinner and one of the girls, with a big grin, mentioned the kayak. That was it! She didn't even know about the kayak. Almost my shining dork moment:
Earlier that day we'd gone kayaking - we the leaders waited on the shore while the girls took their turns. Near the end we, the more mature leaders, left the young leaders to sunbathe and look dignified. Three of us found kayaks and rowed out toward the buoys. But it didn't take long before the other two were way ahead of me. I was rowing for all I was worth, and they looked like they were at a picnic. My friend Marsha has bad hips, and had been worried about them. My hips were killing me. So I called out, "How are your hips?"
"Fine? They're fine?" I rowed harder. But I couldn't catch up. I was getting downright peeved, and vowed to head to the gym as soon as I got home. Then I heard this little voice behind me, one of the girls: "Suzanne! Suzanne! You're in your kayak backwards!"
Yep. That's right. My feet were resting against the backrest, and my hips were crammed into the little foot area.
But that wasn't my finest moment. No, that would be the tire swing. It was suspended over a platform that allowed you to push out over a nice little babbling brook, and was pretty much in constant use. After mucho assurance that it is just impossible to fall - after all it had been tried hundreds of times, I decided to give it a shot. There were several methods, the most popular being putting one foot in the middle of the tire, then swinging the other over as you push out. But I had no shoes that could get wet, and just could not get my bare foot to rest in the center of the tire. So I went for the second method of just jumping and putting both legs around at the same time.
I went boom. Feet first into the water.
But it doesn't end there. No I just couldn't stop there. I had seen another little- used method where the girl just sat in the center of the tire and pushed off. I could do that. Yep, should've tried that from the start. So I climbed back up onto the platform and put the tire over my head. But as it got to my lower back the rope went taught, and one of the girls told me that the rope is just too short to make it all the way down, and I just have to jump into it as I push off.
And that's where I should have gotten out. But I'm sure you've figured out I didn't. I pushed off, and tried to sit. Except there was no room for my rear. I pushed and pushed on the stupid tire, but it wouldn't budge. When I realized my rear end was just too big for the tire I started laughing, and lost complete control. I flailed. Into the water and out again and back again and out again. It was a mess.
Somewhere near the end of the week I decided to just give up on any notions of dignity and revel in my dorkdom. Which explains how one of the boys at the youth conference ended up with a picture on his cell phone of me wearing a purple bra on my head.