So, every year, Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group goes camping. No, there are no tents involved...they stay in cabins at a campground in central Arkansas. BUT, they are away from home, they bring sleeping bags, and they make s'mores in the fire-pit, so...CAMPING.
Part of the purpose of this event is to promote independence, so the TR director encouraged us to let our campers pack for themselves.
I typically let Joshua pack his own bags. Whether it's going to see family for a weekend, or going to Camp Barnabas for a week...he packs for himself. I will ask him, "how many pairs of shorts did you pack?" or things like that.
And, what I learned from this past summer's trip to Camp Barnabas is, just because I ASK...and just because he ANSWERS affirmatively...doesn't mean he has everything he's supposed to have. Sometimes he just THINKS he does. Other times, he doesn't want to take what's on the list, for whatever reason, and so he doesn't.
Which is why he ended up with only 2 pairs of shorts for a week at Camp Barnabas...IN JUNE...and had to wear jeans the rest of the time.
Or why, one year, he "ran out of undies," even after I told him how many to pack. I even made sure they were all out and visible...so all he had to do was pick them up in his hands, and physically put them in his suitcase. I HAD asked him about it, and he SAID he had 8 pairs of undies...but he did not. And, I don't even want to know what all went on with how he "made do" with what he had that week. This may have been the year when he told me he had a "few surprises" in his laundry...and the year I wanted to take his entire bag of clothes, sight unseen, straight out to the fire-pit.
So, anyway...he packed himself for this little mid-week camping adventure.
Joshua's bedroom is upstairs at our house. I didn't want him to be up there, but we gave him first choice of all the bedrooms (besides the master bedroom...DUH), and the one he chose is upstairs. One of my fears is that Joshua is going to fall when he's coming down the stairs. He hasn't had any problems in the FOUR YEARS that we've lived here...so maybe "fear" is not the right word to use. I just want him to be very cautious coming down. Every night, after his shower, he comes downstairs...carrying his dirty clothes and towels to the laundry room. If I'm carrying something, I have to watch every step when I come down stairs.
I had told Joshua to be ready by a specific time, and so...sure enough...I heard him clunking and clanging around at the top of the stairs, and figured he was getting his things ready. He came down slowly, carrying his sleeping bag. I probably would've just tossed it over the banister, and then folded it back up later...but he didn't think of that, and, honestly...I don't want him to get in a habit of throwing things over the banister, from upstairs. Because his youngest brother, IS in the habit of doing that...and you can be sitting in the family room, minding your own business...and clothes and stuff will start raining down from upstairs. He only tosses the "soft" stuff...sheets, clothes, pillows, etc.
But it's still startling, at first.
Joshua went back upstairs, and then I heard a not-familiar sound. When he got down to where I could see him...yep. He was coming down on his bottom (which is what I tell him to do if he needs to come downstairs in the night, like if he's afraid in a storm, or sick)...and carrying a suitcase on his lap.
And not just ANY suitcase...he was carrying the LARGEST suitcase we own.
FOR A TWO DAY TRIP.
He set it down, and I noticed that it wasn't all the way zipped. Looked like something was kind of caught in the zipper. I got it open, and glanced inside. There were clothes...I didn't count what or how many of anything. INDEPENDENCE, remember? But I did notice a few things that were on top: his Bible, his Tony Dungy devotion book, and two exercise bands.
TWO EXERCISE BANDS.
I asked, "Joshua, why are you bringing exercise bands on your camping trip?"
He answered, "Because tomorrow is THURSDAY." He looked at me like, "DUH, MOM."
He said, "I use the red band for my biceps...and the green band is for my back muscles. I can get a full body work-out."
Well, alrighty then.
This morning, I got a text from him. It was 8:22 a.m., and he was already completely ready, and waiting for everyone else to get up and ready. I've said it before: he was born a little, old man...up with the sun...get ready...have a full day...go to bed. It would never occur to him to sleep in late...or stay up late. He's all about structure and routine.
Anyway, I asked him how he slept, and he said he slept "okay" until his alarm woke him up at "five forth five this morning on London time."
First of all: FIVE FORTH FIVE?
And, LONDON TIME?
The boy is obsessed with London and Britain. He doesn't want to be associated with being from the South. Sometimes he says he's from the "south" part of England. He told someone he had a "southern British accent." Now, I've never heard him talk in any sort of a British accent, but whatever. When we say or write things like "y'all" or "fixin' to" or "goin' home," he says it's "bad grammar."
In fact, one Sunday, a very talented soloist in our church sang a "spiritual" type of song. It contained a lot of words like "praisin'" and "comin'" and "singin'." Joshua was not havin' it.
I could see his face...lip stuck out defiantly, arms crossed, and he was muttering. After church, I asked him what he thought about the song. He said he wasn't "thrilled with the BAD GRAMMAHHHH."
So, I asked him WHY he set an alarm...when he was on a camping trip with his FRIENDS. And WHY he has the time on his phone set to London time, when WE LIVE IN ARKANSAS.
I mean, right?
He sent me back this reply: "I thought I could make time for a quiet time [with God]."
AND, "I know what state we live in."
"Listen to my voice in the morning, . Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3