The husband loves to camp. The children love to camp. I hate camping.
I will shop for camping supplies and gather campfire cooking ingredients. I will pack with ziplocs for waterproofing and gather gear for unexpected weather. I will unpack, scrub and launder the day that campers return.
I don’t camp.
I don’t need camping lovers to explain why they love the things that I dislike about camping. I do expect them to respect that my feelings about camping are different from theirs.
When eclipse options made it clear that the best experience for the youngest child would be seeing it from a rural campsite, I set to making it happen for him. From the very first “busy” excuse utterance, it was obvious that my agreement to go eclipse camping was needed to guarantee it happened. So, we went camping.
I don’t own camping equipment or clothing. I wasn’t about to spend money on a one time only event. I packed the blanket and pillow from my bed. I wore my cheap flip-flops and canvas sneakers. I bug-proofed my hair with an old bandana.
I slipped and slid down a hill outside of the bathroom facilities. I brushed my teeth in those facilities while the walls shifted because they were covered in camel crickets trying to outlive the mice chittering in the corner. I let the inexhaustible 12-y-o repeatedly drag me up and down the steep terrain while sniffing the air for the scent of the hemorrhagic fever victims that I was warned to avoid.
I moonburned my chest. It couldn’t have been sunburn. The husband put sunscreen everywhere not covered by the absurdly inappropriate leggings and cotton t-shirts I wore because I only own ‘moms who spend their days sitting in carpool lines’ clothing. I pretended to be calm and relaxed as bugs gifted me with miserably itchy souvenirs.
My toes blistered. My arms hurt. I’m still sneezing.
I killed my pedicure. My pedicure!
The eclipse made my eyes unexpectedly leaky. Everyone was happy. We camped. That should have released me from my obligation to do this ever again. Now we can hotel travel or take that cruise I’ve begged for since forever.
Two days later…
“You know, this wasn’t real camping cause we didn’t pee on trees.”
Between the husband’s keyboard building/collecting and the oldest child’s woodcraft hobby, the mail carrier totes packages to our door every week. Last week, the mail carrier told the youngest child that we are his best customer. The child and his father found that much funnier than I did.
The youngest child expected his new school binder to arrive today. He spent the morning staring out the front window. When the mail truck hadn’t arrived at lunchtime, the child began googling things like “how to track packages” while texting complaints to his father.
“Mail!” One not at all Blues Clues-ish scream and the child raced out the door to greet the mail carrier. The driver made a huge production of putting a large box of toilet paper in the youngest child’s arms and slowly stacking two boring ads atop the box to make the child’s balancing act additionally comical.
As the child stomped back in the house loudly grumbling complaints about his missing package, the mail carrier silently walked three steps behind him. The mail carrier didn’t speak, but he grinned. His entire face was barely constrained laughter as his arms casually carried the small box addressed to the youngest child.
“This is my favorite light setting. When I die in my sleep, change the setting to this so I look my best for the coroner.”
“Also, wipe the drool off my face before they get here to collect me.”
“Whatever you say.”
“Are you listening to me?”
“Mmhmm. I’ll do that.”
He broke their promise.
I needed more time with him.
They will forget him.
“Did you use deodorant?”
“No, but last night I used enough to last all week.”
“It really doesn’t work like that. You put deodorant on every morning like it’s your armour. Only instead of it protecting you, it saves the rest of the family from the stink bullets that shoot out of your armpits.”
“Ewww. That’s disgusting.”
“It is if you don’t use deodorant.”
She: “Don’t step in front of the camera if you are going to run around the house like that.”
Ten minutes later, child dancing in underwear has no memory of the camera conversation.
She: “Don’t forget the camera.”
He: “If I don’t care about open windows, why would I care about our cameras?”
I can’t argue with that level of commitment.
The Guardians sequel is lighter and sillier than its’ predecessor. The cold, sharpness of the film’s antagonist is softened like metaphorical vaseline on a camera lens. Everyone on the screen seems to be having fun and that mood was reflected by the audience. Nobody exiting the theater was fruitlessly trying to explain to a companion about the connections to the broader Marvel Universe. People were smiling. Maybe we were all psychologically starving for comic book escapism. Maybe we were all dedicated fans who would have cheered for anything with a Stan Lee cameo. Whatever the reasons, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a laugh out loud, fun movie.
Instead of one big scene at the end of the credits, there are four or five tiny scenes during the Grootified credits. One of them deals with the Ewok situation that Vol. 2 embraced in the title sequence. Another end credits scene name drops a future movie character so the canon nerds can squabble amongst themselves. Everyone else should be excited at how the character could be interpreted and the potential for some spectacular CGI battles.
Go to the movies this weekend. You need the stress relief and the economy needs your support.
P.S. Always imagine good hair in your personal flashbacks.
P.P.S. The Blu-ray/DVD release should include a Guardian brand condom.
Dad: “Siege towers sound like fun.”
Mom: “He has an after school activity every single day next week and I don’t know when we’ll have time to do the written report OR the model. Hadrian’s Wall or an aqueduct seem easiest to build.”
Child: “Let’s do a bathhouse! They’re not bathrooms. They’re swimming pools.”
Mom whispering to Dad: “If you agree to him googling bathhouses, I WILL add graffiti to the walls of his model.”
He: Takes to the bed at the first sign of illness and sleeps for 24 hours.
She: Drags herself to the nearest sitting spot. Stares blankly into the distance. Mumbles that this is bs and she doesn’t have time for it. Gets up and drags herself to the next spot that may or may not actually be a chair. Stares. Mumbles. Repeats this process all day except for half a dozen unplanned catnaps.
He: Sleeps the entire day and night, waking only to loudly slurp soup several times.
She: Can’t rest because every dish in the house is dirty and the laundry is becoming sentient. Easily mistaken for a zombie.
He: Nap. Eat. Play on Phone. Repeat. Repeat.
She: The crankiest human on Earth until she takes a two hour bath and drinks her body weight in coffee.
The back of my brain tickled at having the time to do a load of laundry and dishes between the children’s taxi deliveries and pickups, but I ignored it. I clinked the stack of plates like some parody of a functional housewife as my phone hummed a familiar melody and I realized my crime. It finally happened. After years of the middle child teasing me for almosts…
I forgot a child. I was blissfully checking things off my to-do list while one of the children stood on a school sidewalk looking for me.
Add “my mom forgot me” to that child’s complaints for her future therapist.
At least it wasn’t the middle child.