This is me at nine years old dressed up as an I-don't-know-what and walking in a little parade. My family had taken a trip to a scout camp in Philmont, New Mexico and each child was assigned to our age group where we spent the day with camp leaders who took us on hikes, told us camp stories and tried to distract us by making us dress up in giant pink flowers and walk around the camp while our parents clapped and told us we were beautiful.
For this trip, we borrowed an RV and we drove all the way down to New Mexico in style. My favorite part was riding in the loft right above the driver's seat in the RV and seeing the road stretch out in front of me. I felt like I was flying. I never tired of staring out at the scenery in front of me and watching the summer fields or metropolitan cities that rolled by.
If I could tell myself anything at this age, I think I would say "Hold on tight, honey. The journey is just beginning. " I had a lot of joy, pain and bumps in the road to encounter and I wish I could have given myself a stock of courage for those bumps that would bruise the most and linger.
And next I would have said, "Never wear those pink flowers again."
At least I would have my best interests at heart.