A pink ribbon around my wrist marks me an insider, a camper, a racer, but I’m not. I am the mother of a racer, a camper, an insider. But, I am the one returning with food for the kids’ race weekend extravaganza. After delivering groceries to my kids at the campground, I pull out of the mountain campsite nestled in a coastal forest and drive down the windy mountain highway back to my sister’s house where I will live in the comfort of a warm bed, hot water and a flat-screen TV, while my teenagers make due on old therm-a-rests, inside our twenty-year- old, and perfectly functional, four season tent.
They’ll be fine. I know this. In fact, they’ll be better than fine. They had begged to be able to camp with all the other 500 racers and hangers-on. Perhaps the parentlessness of it all appealed to them, perhaps the punk bands that play nightly at the campsite. Maybe it was the freedom to stay up as late as they dared while still being able to crawl out of the tent for the six am cattle call for warm-up at the race site.
In the end I’d said okay. Besides, their aunt and uncle, whose house I will nestle in relative comfort, would be camped in a tent right next to theirs. Guess they have a little more punk-rock left in them than I do. Okay, I know this is true. I just can’t stay up that late and I want to be alert enough to watch Wolf scream around the corners of the hay baled, close road track. I want to take it all in, rain or shine. Forecast calls for cloud and rain. Cross my fingers for a sunny day, just like the Youtube video that I watched of last year’s race.
So, tonight, as I snuggle in with my littlest children with a book before they fall asleep, the band at the campsite will be just warming up. I am glad to be here, in every aspect: here for the race, for our son, with the little ones and family, and at my sister's, and not at the campsite. I have come to peace with my aging children and have a motto that I keep tucked in my mind: What happens at camp... stays and camp. I don’t want the details. I’ll see them race day.
More to come.