This past weekend, Dan was leading music at retreat for the school and was invited to bring his family. We thought that it would be great to spend that time together when he wasn’t doing music so jumped at the chance. As we packed warm clothes, bedding and food for each of Aneliese’s meals, it felt as if we were going for a month rather than two nights. Aneliese was beside herself with excitement about going to “campus” and at first thought we would be sleeping in a tent but was more than satisfied with sleeping on a bunk. Once we arrived we realized that this camp was….rustic. The cabins were heated but most of the heat rose to the ceiling, leaving a very cold floor. The was no running water which means no bathroom which means using the outhouse in the -30 or so weather. My reaction was “in the middle of January? With a 2 1/2 and a 1 year old? NO way!” But there was no way we were going home, both because it was already later at night and because Aneliese was bouncing off the walls with happiness over our cabin.
I always want to be a flexible person and one who can make any situation work so after my initial protest I gave myself a pep talk. I grew up this way. I don’t need running water. I can put more layers on the girls and myself. So I have to walk to the outhouse, at night, in the cold. Aneliese and I will just use a bucket. So I did. Aneliese wouldn’t, nor would she use the outhouse, so the snow it was unless we drove to the washroom at the front of the camp. We spent the day playing in an old cabin with a wood stove and moving quickly between the various buildings (kitchen, dining hall, sleeping cabin and playing cabin). Other than some wool and a needle, I had nothing to take away from giving the girls my full attention and play which is always nice.
Aneliese loved it because she had a little friend to play with and I was happy because I had his mama to visit with while our kiddos played non stop. By the time the weekend was done, my little family was tired, a little cold and ready to go home. But it was a good weekend. The director and his wife were very sweet. They did everything possible to make us comfortable, hot drinks, snacks, and gifts for our kiddos. I think I took one small step closer to being the grateful and gracious person that I want to be. Now to just work my initial reaction to situations that I don’t like. And to work on convincing Aneliese that I won’t let her fall down the big hole.
I think you have great courage and fortitude, being able to cope with that situation – no heat and no plumbing in THAT temperature! For what it’s worth, from the first time I met you I was struck by what a gracious woman you appeared to be. Now I know you a little better, I am convinced of it.
Thank you for the encouragement!
This is wonderful! It brought back memories of being in your house in the winter, cold but bundled and with lots of ways to keep warm. That was such a wonderful time. Your comments about convincing Aneliese that you won’t let her fall down the whole remind me of yesterday with Leola. She is afraid of feathers, yes feathers, and has been for some time. Yesterday she found one and was showing me… It was on the couch and at some point I asked her to move over so I could sit down (she was at the far end of the couch, where my computer was resting and I needed to use it). She wouldn’t budge and so I was going to move her over when she let out a scream that was pure terror! She then burst into tears, screaming that she was scared. At that point I realized she was afraid of getting closer to the feather and thought I was moving her towards it! I picked her up and tried to explain to her that I would NEVER try to make her do something she was that afraid of. I asked her to trust me. I know she understood but I’m not sure how much. It broke my heart to think that she might even entertain the thought that I would be cruel to her.
Sorry for posting such a long comment! But you got me thinking…
I didn’t realize how scared Aneliese was of the outhouse until she started crying and clinging to my hands saying “don’t let me go”. I totally want to help her know that she can face things that she is afraid of with me but I felt bad because I just thought she was weirded out because she had never acted scared before.
How did the bringing of gluten free food go?
p.s. i probably would have drove home and not stuck it out! Bravo of deciding to choose to stay!
It actually went really well! I brought pancake mix that I made ahead and added the wet ingredients there, had stuff for salad, cooked some chicken to bring, some pea potato curry leftovers and fruit, veggies and pretzels for snacks. Only once was she disappointed about not getting to eat something and they actually went out their way to make sure that the was gluten free food as well, like keeping out meat from the seasoning etc. It was super encouraging that way because the cooks were so affirming and helpful!