Saturday, July 30, 2011

Camp Prep Cuteness

Last year we took our youngest child to the camp where his older brother and sister were counselors. I held back my tears pretty well until we were almost off campus. And then the greatest thing happened that week: he made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and became a child of God.

This year Joel wanted to return, and we agreed, since his brother Steve is a counselor at the camp once again. Our 22-year-old Sarah, who couldn't work there again because of a summer college class, wanted to visit the staff this weekend. She could drive him out there.

I enjoyed assisting Joel with packing. It's not something I do by myself. I'm a firm believer in helping kids mature in personal responsibility, so my kids have always been heavily involved in getting their own things ready for trips. He gathered his own clothes for the week and washed them. I procured the bedding and washed it up fresh. He put outfits together--shorts and underwear wrapped in each shirt he chose--and declared them "care packages." He made nine care packages.

I wish I'd taken pictures of his organization. For being a nine-year-old boy, he really puts a lot of thought behind his actions. (Usually.) I took him to Goodwill for the things he'd probably destroy on the waterslide this week: old jeans and watershoes. Five bucks total. Yes!!!

In the midst of his excitement, I saw his trademark bravado. He wasn't going to miss me much in a week, he said. "It'll actually be good to get away," he said. Did I the same relief in his voice as his young-adult siblings speak??? Regardless of his bravado, however, I know he has some anxieties. He doesn't always feel comfortable around people he knows well, let alone completely new people. So I was planning to put a few little notes of encouragement in his suitcase. I expected him to find out I was writing them and give me the the mini-speech: "Mom, please. I'm a guy. I don't need a bunch of notes from my MOMmy!"

But that didn't happen. This morning he saw me take out pen, paper, and envelopes.

"Mom, are you going to write me seven notes--one for each day at camp?" His tone was hopeful. Musical, in fact.

"Seven?" I asked, surprised and touched.

"Yeah. Sunday through Saturday is seven." I asked my husband, who is his son's hero, to please write three of them. He lovingly consented.

Then Joel added, "And I'd like you stick a dollar in each one for the snack shop!"

I had to laugh. There was method to his mushiness. "A dollar?" I asked, as I began the first note.

He was petting the dog and talking to him in a baby-talk voice. "A dollar with each note, right, Reilly? Yeah, boy. Yeee-ahhh. Otherwise what's the point of reading? You need a reward!"

We finished packing with toiletries and sleeping bag, and birthday goodies for his brother. I put the notes in and made sure he had kept the extra underwear packed. I think we got it all. I hugged him in the car and we all prayed with him, and then they pulled out of the driveway. No one cried. Not even me.

Then, when they were 30 miles from home, I remembered something. I think he forgot to take something important to Bible camp.

His Bible.

So much for personal responsibility!


Anonymous said...

This blog made me laugh and cry. I wish we had an older sibling to send k with to camp. I think she would enjoy it if she went, but she is so worried about everything and still a little immature for her age in some regards. I was going to go as a counselor but they didn't need any more moms and k didn't want to go with dad. Maybe next year.

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