When I was eleven I was scheduled to go to summer camp. Escape the suffocating heat of Tucson in favor of the mountains of Prescott. I was packed. Ready. Canvas shoes with no laces. Check. Permed hair. Check. Kind of childish Alvin and the Chipmunks suitcase. Check. Purple sleeping bag. Check.
I was excited. Till the day before I was scheduled to leave. At least I thought it was the day before I was scheduled to leave. The leader of the group I was going with called my house. He wanted to know where I had been the last week when they were leaving for camp. Why I had missed camp. Why?
My dad, or me, or someone else, had gotten the dates mixed up. Probably not me, cause I was eleven and not responsible for my own social scheduling. They went without me. I had packed my stuff in vain, cause I wasn't going anywhere.
I got over that initial time of being left behind. Told myself that it was no big deal, camp wasn't really that fun. It's fine. I'll live.
I didn't know that failed church camp trip would give me a complex for the rest of my life.
Whenever I was supposed to go on an away game for cheerleading or any type of field trip, I got nervous. Sweaty palms, butterflies in my stomach, the whole thing. I packed my stuff in advance and waited anxiously for my dad to drive me there, because I was convinced that if I was not punctual they would definitely leave without me. Every away game where we left after school. Every time that I had to be somewhere early in the morning. Every leadership trip. I was so paranoid that I would be late and they would get tired of waiting and just say Whatever, we didn't want her to go anyway.
My dad always got me there in time, but every time I was convinced that I wouldn't make it. That I'd arrive to an empty parking lot and have to go back home with my bags packed. Take my discman and my snacks and return home in shame.
It even carried over into adulthood. My sister and I coached cheerleading for a couple of years and had to ride the bus with our cheerleaders and the football players. I was determined to get there early, because I just knew that the bus would leave me behind if not.
One game we actually waited almost an hour for the football coaches to all get on the bus, because they knew no one was leaving without them. But leaving a cheerleading coach would probably be an added benefit to them. On a side note, if you wanna feel old, ride a school bus with a bunch of teenagers when you're 25. You will feel like a chaperone, I guarantee it.
I've mostly gotten over this strange left behind complex, but I don't go on many field trips these days. I hope it doesn't resurface when Alana goes to school next year. I won't let my kid stay home from camp cause I got the dates mixed up.