There comes a time is every family where the teenagers long to spread their wings, venture out from their family's values and seek independence.
I knew this day was coming and have been dreading it for 17 years.
A short while ago, Allie came to us and mentioned that she wished to spend the night at a sleepover at her girlfriend whom she tutors.
Well, I took a deep breath and hesitated. She knows that we aren't fans of "sleepovers" except when they visit family (Dame, M, their grandparents).
We did allow her one sleepover back when she was in 5th grade, at an "approved" and vetted friend's house and it didn't end well. Like all kids, the last thing they want to do at a sleepover is "sleep" so Allie returned the next day, a zombie. Since then, Allie has been on "sleepovers' just a couple of times.
Well, I was wrong. The request wasn't for a sleepover, pre se, it was even worse than that.
My daughter asked to go camping with 3 of her friends!
Camping! Can you believe it? I don't even know who this child is anymore!
Now, Allie can be a lot like her father and was unfazed by my emotional plea for her own sanity. She assured me that while she had never been camping, lots of people do it and enjoy it.
I was floored by this revelation.
Sure, lots of people enjoy camping. M and Brian spend lots of time Moosehead Lake in a camp with no electricity. Piera and Jim spend annual vacations at Lake George. Dame camps in huts along the White Mountains. Veron spent part of a summer doing some archeological digging in Northern NH living out of a tent.
But camping means "roughing it" to me. Sure, I can survive during a power outage, but being more than 45 minutes from a hot shower doesn't make me feel good.
And I can't imagine what would cause my daughter to want to go camping - living like a chipmunk in the woods. This is the same young lady who was appalled that I would make reservations at a 2 star hotel!
Jon rationalized with me that this was not an unreasonable request on Allie's part. At 17, she wants her independence, some freedoms, some time to be alone with her friends. He calmed me down and we agreed that she could go IF she assured me that she would take appropriate supplies to stay warm and she would leave if she felt at all uncomfortable.
I got up early the next morning and made a trip to LLBEAN to purchase the required supplies. Her last sleeping bag was of "The Little Mermaid" variety circa the early 1990's. I found some battery powered lanterns, wool socks, a blanket that NASA endorses for warm and wind protection, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and some other basic necessities.
Allie kissed us goodbye and told us that she was call us if there were any problems, otherwise we would see her the next day at 10 am.
How did it go?
She was happy.
And she didn't stray from her family's values like I worried about.
Sometime around 8:30 pm, they packed up and went to Maggie's house for the night. Seems that the other girls' didn't pack warm supplies and were cold in the tent.