We attended our yearly neighborhood camping trip last weekend. “Camping” for me has become driving up for the day, after a hot shower and a couple cups of strong coffee of course, hiking around for a few hours in my trail shoes, getting my yearly dose of trees and fresh air, and then driving home alone in time to make myself a nice dinner I’ll eat in front of Real Housewives. That’s about as much camping as I can handle. When I was Virginia’s age, I could have spent an entire summer outdoors, barefoot and sleeping in a tent by a lake and living off of hard salami, Triscuits, and fruit. No longer. This is what a few decades of hotels and city living and easy access to plumbing can do to a girl. Now, I freak if I’m someplace I can’t blow out my hair or grab a cup of good coffee. Seriously. I’ve become the lady I used to roll my eyes at—I may now be in Goldie-Hawn-at-the-beginning-of-Overboard territory.
This got me thinking: my menu of what I consider fun changes as I get older. You know what’s fun now? Trying different kinds of cheese. When I see a cheese plate these days, I pounce and have to restrain myself from inhaling the whole thing. My ten-year-old palate was not exactly sophisticated, and I remember instantly recoiling at just a whiff of “stinky” cheese. Museums are a lot more fun since I’ve hit adulthood, too. Strolling leisurely as I take in gorgeous works of art is such heaven. I can’t go on vacation without visiting a city’s signature art museum. Turns out, this is not an activity that tops Virginia’s list. It’s an exercise in extreme patience for her to wander among the paintings and sculptures, and I remember feeling the same way.
A few weeks ago I took Virginia to a baseball game. She didn’t want to go at first, recalling how mind-numbingly bored she was two years ago when Josh and I dragged her to a summer afternoon game, and I knew this trip to the ballpark could be an expensive mistake. But as soon as we arrived, I started to see her turn around. I don’t know that the entire experience was all that exciting for her, but as soon as we walked through the gate, she was handed a bat bag—free for all kids that day. I bought her a Phillies hat. She enjoyed the opportunity to pig out on hotdogs and French fries. And after we settled into our seats, she actually watched the game and asked questions about the rules of baseball and how fans are selected to get onto the Jumbotron (criteria seems to hinge on behaving like an energetic moron). I thought, she’s warming to baseball—she must be growing up!
Yeah, “growing up.” Before I know it, she’ll be talking me into going glamping.