I recently went on a trip with five preteen girls to Washington, D.C., for the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting and the giant hullaboo that ensued.
I think I might have accidentally left my sanity back at the hotel. If anyone plans to drop by the Dun Loring Marriott, please ask them if they've found my mind, because I lost it.
However, I didn't lose the Sainted Child, and that was a plus. Although, she once tried to get off the subway at the wrong stop before I wrestled her to the ground and wrapped her in bubble wrap. Next time, I think I will simply tie them together, much like mountain climbers. I might wear a bell, so they can find me. Or, better yet, one of those "one-man band" outfits that comes with a drum and cymbals. I can do the polka up Pennsylvania Avenue. That wouldn't embarrass them or anything, right?
I wasn't the only person to enjoy the insanity of sheparding these girls through our nation's capitol (without even the benefit of a sheep dog, unfortunately). Leader went, too. Actually, it was kind of her fault I got roped into it at all. She was the one who suggested it in the first place.
The penultimate event for the long weekend was a giant singalong on the Mall in the shadow of the Washington Monument. Leader and I were practically salivating over the wholesomeness of 250,000 Girl Scouts singing "America the Beautiful" a stone's-throw away from the White House. It would be an event! It would be a big ol' slice of Americana.
Maybe I would even meet Michelle Obama. As a former Girl Scout, I hoped she might make an appearance, maybe sing with us. (If she was there, I missed her entirely. I did notice she was scheduled to make an appearance at a D.C. bookstore a few days afterwards, and the girls were all about extending their stay a few more days, but I was pretty sure that Managing Editor Craig would drag me back kicking and screaming if I tried.)
Our biggest mistake was forgetting how self-conscious girls that age can be. They did not want to sing. They did not want to dance. Obviously, the other 149,995 Girl Scouts there were entirely focused on what our five were doing. The crowd wasn't packed shoulder-to-shoulder, and no one was singing or trading swaps or getting water or shopping or sight-seeing.
I wasn't about to let them stop me. There may be video floating around out there of myself and Leader doing the hokey-pokey. I may have sung at the top of my lungs, despite my extreme tone-deafness. I may have hugged and sang my way across the Mall.
"Where are you from?" was the first question on everyone's lips. They came from Hawaii and Alaska, from the Great Plains and the Great Lakes, from New England and New Mexico. There were so many of them the Sainted Child dubbed it the "girlpocalypse."
It sounds sappy, but there was a genuine feel of sisterhood. Large events like that, usually you get someone pushy or petulant or just plain mean. Sainted Child and I didn't run into any of that. We did run into someone rocking some WVU gear, though.
"Hey, West Virginia!" we yelled.
"Hey! Where are you from?"
"West Virginia, too!"
"Want a hug?"
And they threw open their arms and we hugged. Like I said, sisterhood.
Leader and I - and our crew of moms and a real trooper of a grandmother - brought back all of our girls in one piece, so, despite their shyness, I think the event was definitely a success.
That deserves a cookie, doesn't? ... maybe even a Girl Scout cookie.
(Wallace-Minger is The Weirton Daily Times community editor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)