Years ago, when our children were children, my wife Melanie was a Girl Scout leader for my daughter's Girl Scout troop when they were planning to go to Savannah, the Mecca for all Girl Scouts. Needless to say, my daughter, Erin, and my wife, Melanie, were excited. They were leaving on a Saturday and not returning until the following Tuesday evening. During this time they were going to visit the Juliette Low House, take a haunted carriage ride, and tour the riverfront.
I was taking Monday off from work so I could stay home with my son, Jeremy. For some reason, Jeremy did not find this as exciting as a trip to Savannah and was pleading to be taken along. I began to feel a little useless, so I decided to fight back.
"You don't want to go with them," I told him. But he slowly shook his head up and down as he looked at me with sad, rejected 5 year old eyes filled with tears.
"No" I said. "If you go, you will miss out on the big plans that I made for us."
"What plans?" he asked.
"Well, on Saturday I thought we would go to a movie and order pizza, have some root beer, some chips and dip, and make some popcorn."
His eyes lit up. His mother frowned.
But I continued. "Then, we will set up the tent in the backyard and camp out on Sunday night. We will build a campfire, and we'll cook supper over the fire."
"What's for supper?" he asked.
"With cheese on them?"
"Yes, with cheese on them." I answered.
"What about Monday?"
"Well, I have some yard work to do..."
Jeremy's face fell.
"But after that we are going to go swimming and go to the park."
"The Mint Hill park?"
"Yes, the Mint Hill park."
"Tuesday is the best day of all. We are going to get up at 5:30 in the morning and go out for breakfast, then we are going to go to my office and do some office work."
He looked skeptical. "Can I sit at your desk?"
"Sure, and while I am in a meeting you are going to get to sit at a table in Robin's office and she will have all kinds of things for you to do. She will probably let you staple some papers."
"And use some markers?"
"Yes, especially the markers."
"But, I still want to go to Savannah!"
I felt the heat of frustration building. I had given it my best shot.
"Well, you are not going." I said.
"Because you are not a Girl Scout."
"Oh," he said, the light coming into his eyes. "O.K. I will stay with you."
He ran to Erin's room and shouted, "On Saturday we are going to have chips and dip and pizza and watch a movie and have popcorn and you're not!"
Melanie looked at me with one of those looks.
I turned and walked down the stairs.