There is a very short list of people that I would willingly agree to sleep on a hardwood floor in a sleeping bag for — and that list actually only has two names on it: Dylan and Liam. I’m only down with it because it comes with a lot of fun and the promise of good memories with my children. Well, in this case, with one of my children but hopefully number 2 son will get to watch his mom roll out of a sleeping bag and take ten minutes to feel her arms and legs again in t-minus two years.
But, that’s exactly what I did last week with Dylan, and it was an incredible experience — mosquitoes, no shower, no sleep and a numb bum to boot. Watching history come alive at Ft. Tejon was a memory that was worth making. To watch him and his classmates get excited over learning something was worth its weight in gold (or sweat equity might be the more appropriate cliche here).
There was no eye rolling, no arm resting, and no heavy sighing. Instead, the kids were sweeping, marching, carrying buckets of water and working. Plus, they managed to survive twenty-four hours without television, iPods, iPads, cell phones and video games. That in itself is amazing nowadays. I thought there would be an ambulance on stand-by in case any of the kids started experiencing technology withdrawals.
And, then there were the kids that had never eaten stew before or had a hearty breakfast (because cheeze-its and pop-tarts don’t qualify). Some even came back with their Army-issued tin cups, tin plates, and wooden spoons for seconds. They resorted to using their imaginations and scaring each other silly around the campfire and night hike. They got excited by sleeping in a large room with only candles and the light from the fireplace flames. They are still talking about the cannon booms, the size of the American flag, and the stuff they made. Dylan even told me he really thought washing clothes with a washboard was fun! Hmmmmmm, that gives me an idea……
And, us grown up kids? What did we think? There were a lot of laughs and great times among the team of parents that came to help out. We made memories, too, and got to know each other a bit more. Some of us got a speeding ticket (not mentioning any names) and still managed to laugh. It was a learning experience for us as well — appreciating where we came from, how we used to live, and what our soldiers did for us early on. It was this history that made us appreciate that much more all that we have and all we are as a country.
And, as I sit and work on projects, my mind goes back to my son’s beaming face and shining eyes — just knowing I was with him and making our history together. I don’t know if there is anything better than that!