Sierra's online journal

Lessons from the Campground September 11, 2020

Day 21: What three lessons do you hope your children learn from you?

Labor Day weekend has come and gone and just like that, summer is over. I spent my holiday weekend camping out with a small group of family and friends in my sister’s back yard. It’s a tradition that began nearly ten years ago. And it’s one that feels so important to us all that we’ve kept it going and have no plans to stop. It’s two nights of “roughing it” in tents. Screen time is virtually non-existent unless you count pulling out a phone to snap a photo or take a video; and we’ve got lots of both, thankfully. Bedtimes (and rules in general, for the most part) don’t matter. Priority is placed on quality time with each other and making memories to last a lifetime.

Every year, inevitably, the adults find themselves huddled together while the kids are off playing or sleeping or chattering until all hours of the night. And we muse over the fact that we hope our children hold the memories created during our camp outs for a lifetime. This year, we went as far as to imagine what the weekend will look like far into the future, when it’s our kids serving us and their kids food from the grill. There’s no doubt that these weekends are important to every last one of us campers. Fun to be had. Lessons to be learned. Here are three of the lessons that I hope my daughter, specifically, will take from these days…

LESSON 1: Your tribe is important. Choose them wisely.

Obligatory breakfast feast photo of the kiddos

The camping crew is a mix of family and friends (which I’ll often refer to as “framily” or my tribe). And, sure, not all of my tribe make the guest list; in fact it’s the same crew year after year with no new additions without passing a group vote. (And there WAS a vote this year so there WILL be new invitees next year!) We come in all colors, ages, sizes. We listen to different music, which often leads to a battle over the Bluetooth speaker that results in a country ballad followed by a reggae beat. We don’t all agree on the definition of a perfect s’more. Our parenting styles vary. But none of that matters because we mesh on things like know how to make each other laugh, de-stress, and have fun. We come together and all do our part to help out from unloading the cars on Saturday morning to packing up tents on Monday afternoon. And by the time we all return home, our stomachs are sore from laughing, our feet are filthy from walking around barefoot, and our hearts are full of memories that are burned into the very fiber of our beings.

LESSON 2: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” is always a crowd favorite during karaoke time.

During daylight hours, you can find us campers making up games with various supplies from my sister’s stash of camping gear. Sometimes we craft together. There’s always swimming and, for the past two years, “bull rides” in the pool that involve the rider climbing or jumping onto a huge inflatable bull while others attempt to knock them down. There’s always a few who pull their air mattress out of their tents and take mid-day naps in the sunshine. (Guilty as charged this year!) By nightfall, the music is blaring as we line dance and sing karaoke. No matter what we choose to do, there’s no judgment. We’re all just there to have fun. Laugh. Forget that summer is ending, school is starting, and the world feels chaotic and scary most days. In that backyard, our campground, cutting loose and enjoying some levity is what it’s about.

LESSON 3: Unplugging is vital to the soul.

The glow of a screen is no match for the glow of a campfire

The connections we make online are important, sure. Social media helps us stay up to date on what the kids are doing and where everyone is vacationing and, yeah, even sometimes what you had for lunch. But the freedom to unplug from all that–from news and streaming TV and a constant barrage of status updates–is freeing. The connections we make around a campfire are so very different. Whether it’s staying up until 2am laughing over newly created inside jokes or sitting around in a lazy silence together watching the flames lick the fire logs, there’s nothing like the connection and togetherness that’s felt around a campfire.


Celebrity Hall Pass September 5, 2020

Day 20: Post about three celebrity crushes.

It feels a little wrong on a lot of levels to follow up my last post (about new love and forever love) with this one, in which I discuss the top three reasons I’d stray from my marriage. But a task is a task and I won’t back away. You know, for science….?

1) John Krasinski.

Photo source: https://instagram.com/johnkrasinski?igshid=1vqhgpomrmgck

If you’ve followed my blog at all, I’m sure you’ve heard me mention being in the sweet spot in life where I’m equally attracted to slightly older and slightly younger men. Dads and sons, if you will. Well, John is the dad in the equation, though he’s only got a few years on me. My initial love for him bloomed in The Office days; the man can convey so much with just a look and had me rooting for Pam and Jim all series. Add in the fact that he’s an amazing father to two little girls (with old-timey names!), a doting husband to Emily Blunt (that lucky bitch!), and a goofball through and through (have you seen his lip sync battle with Anna Kendrick?)…. What’s not to love? Finally, I credit him and his Some Good News web series with helping me through the worst of the covid quarantine this past spring.

2. Tommy Martinez.

Photo source: https://instagram.com/tommymartinez?igshid=cck0suca0d2s

If John is the dad in the equation then Tommy is the son, considering he’s almost a decade my junior. But have you seen that smile? I melted for him the first time when watching a video on his Instagram showing when he got the call back about landing the part of Gael on Good Trouble. He’s just a regular ol’ guy. With a megawatt smile and a man-bun and abs for days. (Gimme all of that!) But his role on Good Trouble is what really seals the deal for me. His character oozes sex appeal and his story arc helps bring to life some important themes including bisexuality (him) and gender identity (his sister).

3. Angelina Jolie.

Photo source: https://instagram.com/angelinajolie_offiicial?igshid=1v0bvzukpd59

The year was 1999. I was 16. And my first (but certainly not last) girl crush began when watching “Girl, Interrupted.” From there, I went back and watched “Gia.” And when I moved into my freshman dorm room, posters of her clad in sheer dresses adorned my walls. It wasn’t long until my mom began referring to Angelina as her daughter in law. I’ve not seen all of her movies and I’ve not even loved all the ones I have seen. But, good heavens, that woman can do no wrong in my eyes. She’s got a wild streak to her and a colorful past; we’ve all seen the infamous kiss with her brother and heard about the vial of (then-hubby’s) blood that she wore on a necklace. The beginning of her relationship with Brad was a bit contested, too, but to that I say, “Jennifer who?” Today, though? She’s a mom to a brood of children, biological and adopted. She’s a humanitarian, an activist. And, sure, she’s sometimes a bit too thin but would you leave the poor woman alone? She’s got grace, is beautiful inside and out…. And is single. Now’s my chance!