Ah, teenagerhood. A time of learning new things, stretching your wings, becoming involved and getting your parents to do things in the name of youth/parent night that could get them hurt, maimed or at the very least, embarassed.
I have now been on two such excursions. The first being on a youth event that parents could attend if they so chose. There was food involved so that did not take long to decide. It was a beautiful day at a lake with munchies and fellowship giving me a nice time to get to know the new youth leaders and let my daughter get to know the kids. (We were new to the church). After me sitting enjoying doing nothing for a while, Dearest Daughter said she was going tubing, Did I want to go in the boat or the tube. Well, being a water lover and adventure lover, I said I'd want to try the tube. It was a 2 seater, so we went together. Yay, a bonding time. One we would talk of in years to come!
It was great. A nice slow start, chugging along behind the boat. What fun! Nice chatting with Dearest Daughter. Bonding, bonding. The scenery was great. Now we're pulling into more open water, getting farther away from everyone, going faster. Okay boat veers to the right, what's he doing?, I ask. Bump goes the tube as it goes over the wake of the boat. Oh, ok, that was fun. Oh look he's veering left. Another bump. Much smiling and laughing. I notice we are going along at a really good clip now. More bumps, more laughs. Signal comes from the boat asking if we want to come in. Dearest Daughter says it's up to me. I say "No let's go one more time." I am after all enjoying this bonding experience with her where she can't leave me. So we go on. Really fast. Sharp veer. Tube goes over the wake. Big time. Dearest Daughter laughing. Mom, that would be me, now riding about a foot or so off the tube hanging onto the tiny hand holds for dear life. Mom's bottom lands on tube, not in the seat mind you, but barely on the back end of the tube. Daughter still laughing. Mom now pulling with all her might to get her bottom back in the tube before she lands in the ice cold lake! Mom's arm sockets, biceps, and neck sore for two days.
Fast forward 2 years. Strapping son says youth/parent activity coming. "Yipee! ", I say. "It's paintball, Mom." he says. "But don't worry." says Dearest Daughter. "It's a riot!" Unfortunately she can't participate due to a fractured foot. So off I go with son on this new adventure. As I'm donning my coveralls, and face mask and listening to all the rules I'm thinking what in blazes am I thinking. This is gonna hurt! But on all us parents go as it's decided it will be parents against the youth. For the first two games, I didn't get hit once. Now before you applaud me, I will admit it's because I did not come out from behind the relative safety of the wall. I considered it once, but when I peeked around the corner, I was spotted and the shots came fast and furious and were hitting the wall above my head so hard my heart was pounding.
Again the thought of "What was I thinking?" flew thru my head. Third game I got hit on the finger and on the top of my mask. Finger was numb for 10 minutes. Once that happened I got braver and it actually became fun. I think I made a hit or two myself and I once carried the flag over our line. Legs were sore for a day from all the crouching and I was exhausted, but again I bonded and laughed with strapping son!
So I survived both youth/parent events and lived to tell about them. It was a time to get closer, a time to laugh and share an adventure with my teens. And we will talk of it in years to come even if it's to have a laugh at my expense. I will face the next challenge with my chin held high and say "yipee!" again. After all, I've got at least 6 more years of youth group between my 3 kids.
But please, can someone suggest bowling or something for the next one?!