This year we went to Moab, UT for spring break. Reservations were made at a great resort and two beautiful campgrounds. Hikes were plotted out. Ingredients for s’mores were purchased. Zip off, quick dry pants were packed for those cool morning but glorious and sunny afternoons. I even bought incredibly over-priced camp chairs at REI so we could sit next to the campfire and gaze at the awesome stars at Arches National Park. Lists were made. Meticulous packing was done. We’ve been on quite a few epic minivan adventures by this point I was even able to pack all our equipment, clothing and food….AND we could still see out the back window. After a long and particularly brutal Minnesota winter we were ready to soak in
75 and sunny in the dessert Southwest.
We made it to Golden, Colorado. Look Mom, no jackets! Everyone was happy. We felt warm while outside for the first time since the middle of October.
Look, Mom, No Jackets!!!!
And then the puking started. Just #3 at first. I convinced myself it was altitude sickness. We ventured on.
As we headed over the mountains and down into the Moab region I checked the updated forecast. Wind warning? High of 42? Low of 20? I told myself that forecasts change all the time and we weren’t camping for a couple more days.
We headed to our posh resort nestled in the red rocks of the Colorado River.
We had a beautiful day hiking in the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park. I even took off my ski hat! And I rolled up my pants!
A balmy 50 degrees!
And then, as we were packing up to leave the resort and head into Arches for camping, #2 puked.
Perhaps this is not altitude sickness.
And guess what. They failed 1st grade. Impressively and with gusto. This is not what I had planned.
It’s heart wrenching to try and figure out what you could have done differently when you have a child that fails in school. Did I read to them too much? Too little? Did I put them in the wrong school? Should we have moved to the suburbs? Should I have kept working and put them in day care? Should I have drilled them in their letters when they were 2? Should I have played with them more?
But, as with camping with puking children…..I just didn’t see it coming. And, there is no way to know how to react in the situation until you are actually in it. Eventhough it’s my third time through 1st grade with a child who hasn’t learned to read I am still caught off guard when I look around his classroom and see all the wonderful growth that his peers have made, and I realize my child has made none.
So, I muscle through. And to think I spent years thinking that the hesitant personalities of #1 and #2 and the boisterous personality of #3 would be my biggest issues. They are side issues so much of the time, but certainly make the situation more difficult….just as the weather made everything more difficult on our spring break “experience.” But I can say with confidence, as a young parent, I never saw reading problems coming.
I continue to read out loud books my children enjoy. I encourage hard work, yet look for places they can excel with ease. I realize its OK to grieve the loss I feel when they can’t read and how hard the road ahead with be, but smile about all the things they are great at.
In other words, I book the Hummer tour and try to enjoy the place we are at. I realize I didn’t do anything to bring the stomach flu with us to Utah, but I can buy new camping mats and Lysol.
Then, as we were stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of Iowa farm country because of an overturned semi….from the backseat of the minivan comes “Mommy, I just pooped! EVERYWHERE!!!!!” It was time to just break into uncontrollable giggles and call a professional to help with cleanup in the morning.