On Tuesday, our state celebrated Pioneer Day. It's the day we commemorate the pioneers arriving in the valley. I like it because we get a day off, we barbecue and watch parades and fireworks. (None of the things the pioneers did.) I like it because I would've been a lousy pioneer.
I know the other pioneer women, and especially the men, wouldn't have appreciated my whining or my sarcasm.
"You know what I love in the morning? That gritty-dirt-in-your-teeth feeling. Makes me look forward to the whole day."
"If I could just train these mosquitoes to sting my cheeks, then I'd be all rosy and attractive."
"Man, I slept so good last night. The rocks are soo much more comfy than the mattress I left behind."
Then, when we got here, and Brigham Young announced that "This is the place", I probably would've looked around and said, "Seriously?" Then, I would've sat on my rump and cried.
But, even though I would have sucked as a pioneer, today, I'm jealous.
This morning, my daughter woke before the birds to take her last shower for three days. She braided her hair and dressed in clothes she normally would not be caught dead in. Yes, my modern, cell-phone-carrying, I-pod-listening, laptop-playing teenager became a pioneer.
Yesterday, she packed all of her supplies in this-
|Note the super-cute cushion I made so her|
tushy doesn't get sore from sitting on it.
Then, today, after feeding her a hearty breakfast, I drove her to the church. There, she joined 300 other youths (age 14-18) and their leaders. They boarded buses and drove to the lush Wyoming wilderness. (lush, haha)
I'm jealous of what?
I'm jealous of the amazing spiritual experience this is going to be for her. Our Mormon Pioneer heritage is fraught with pain and difficulties. I cannot imagine how hard it would have been to leave a home and take my children into the unknown and walk 1300 miles. Many parents buried children on the way. Husbands lost wives, wives lost husbands. It was long and it was hard.
But, they did it because of their faith. They did it to escape the persecutions that were heaped upon them, so that they could worship the way our forefathers intended-- according to the dictates of their own conscience.
Sadie will walk with the other youth. They will hear stories of our pioneer ancestors. They will get hot and tired. At the end of the day, they will eat around a campfire, hear more stories, share testimonies, dance and sing. Just like the original pioneers. Then, they will spread their sleeping bags on the ground and sleep under the wide open sky. My hips groan at the thought, yet, I wish I were there.
Because, at the end of three days, she will have learned so much. About life-- how it is hard, but it is also joyful. About herself-- that she can do hard things, and when she does, she comes out a better and stronger person. And, about her testimony-- that in the end, it is the most prized possession she owns.