I cried a lot when I was little. Like, really a lot. I mean, that in itself I could write a whole journal entry on (and it would be pretty long), but instead I’m going to focus on one particular incident.

The school I went to was a Montessori school, and the head of the school, Leslie, was big on tough love and forcing us kids to be independent. I skipped kindergarten and got put in first grade at my teacher’s insistence, which meant leaving my friends behind in primary while I moved to elementary. So that summer, there was a camping trip with the elementary kids, and my parents figured it would be a good way to bond with my new classmates. They were a little worried because I had a lot of separation anxiety, but I had already gone on a short camping trip before and it had gone fine, so they figured this should be okay. Even so, they told Leslie to call them if I was having a hard time, and they would pick me up. (I didn’t know this part until years later. Maybe if I had things would’ve gone differently.)

I’m sure you can see where this is going. I was a little kid who already had a history of crying a huge amount at the slightest provocation, around completely new people, without my parents. I am really not exaggerating when I tell you that I spent those entire five days crying. Like, through meals, activities, boating trips. I think the only time I stopped was when I was asleep, but then I’d wake up early the next morning and start right up again.

The main reason this trip is memorable requires a bit of backstory. I grew up in an almost completely non religious Jewish family. We celebrated the major holidays, but religion wasn’t a part of the day-to-day in our house. I had certainly never prayed before. I don’t even know how I knew what praying was at that point. Also, at this time, I was in the middle of a several years long obsession with Greek mythology. I just loved it, and I knew all of the stories from my (children’s) books about Greek myths.

So, what happened was, I was so desperate to go home that every night before bedtime I would sneak off behind the Port-a-Potty and pray to the gods (Hera, Zeus, Athena, etc…) to take me home. Like, just picture it: a little five year old Jewish girl, who has never prayed in her entire life, praying to the Greek gods to reunite her with her parents, while sitting behind a Port-a-Potty, all while still crying. That might actually have been the lowest point in my life so far.

Whether or not my prayers were heard, I did eventually go home. And while the camping trip was a fairly traumatic moment in my childhood, the story of me praying to the gods has become a favorite of my family’s. So maybe in the end it was worth it, because now I will have this story to tell for the rest of my life, a story that will hopefully bring laughter and at least a moment of joy to the people I share it with.

Oh, screw it. It totally wasn’t worth it.