Friday, June 29, 2012

Chickies in the Nest

We left home at 6am on Wednesday to pick up our camper.  Oh the JOY I felt as we pulled into town and I knew that I would lay eyes on my girl within minutes!  We drove into camp and I saw hundreds of girls sitting in front of the dining hall, but we were directed to go back to the cabins so we could park and gather their belongings.
The kids and I got out and walked around cabin D and all the while my eyes were roving the distance, watching for her.  We chatted with parents and siblings and laughed but I was only partially involved in the conversations because I wanted to see my daughter and the suspense was just about more than I could take.  I was so anxious to see what this month had done for her and within her.
And then there she was, running and smiling and laughing because of COURSE Mom was taking pictures and she didn't know I was bringing everyone with me and they were all just so excited to be together...

Together.  What a beautiful word.  What a sweet feeling to see all my babes hugging and laughing and ribbing each other again.  She proudly introduced her family to her friends and happily swung the little ones around and hoisted them up for piggy back rides.  We loaded up her things and walked back for one last look, one last goodbye.
Hugs for camp BFF's and counselors and smiles and promises to write soon and "see you next year!" and we were on the way home.


The stories she has been telling...I could fill a library!  The good and the great and the not-so-much because there was a bully who got sent home after the first week but OH it was just so FUN, Mom!  The maturity that moved in as my daughter learned that most girls really are sweet and that the bully who hurt her heart when she was seven  is NOT the norm and that she really is brave and smart and the life of the party because they were all just so happy she was there.  Community.  She experienced true Christian community and the safety it brings.  Yes, this month has been wonderful for her, and healing.

The songs and the chants and the traditions of camp have given her a sense of belonging, a realization that there is so much to experience in life and she is SO glad she pushed through the homesickness and just enjoyed the days...enjoyed the friends and the wonderful busyness of camp.

After we got back into town, we celebrated at our favorite Mexican restaurant and things got a bit in, my kids started fighting.

So as normal set in, I decided to reinforce the boundaries before the bickering got out of control:

"Ok guys, the chaos is not fun and I want it to stop now.  Do you all understand me?  Keep your hands to yourself and quit bugging each other!"

Katie burst into tears...
"I missed you all so much!"

Oh my sweet girl.

"Did you miss me yelling at you?"


And we all laughed because it was just so normal again with her home.

Later that evening, as I took down her braids (oh my, was that ever traumatic after a MONTH) she got teary again.  She missed camp.  She was so glad to be home, but she missed camp too and she was obviously just so conflicted.  It reminds me of the post-Christmas letdown...what do I do NOW?

She was so emotional and keyed up and I wrapped my arms around my almost 11 year old and nuzzled her cheek..."Baby, you just need to have a good cry.  You have had a lot of emotion going on and it has to get out somehow.  Crying is a healthy way to let it out...just let it go."

And she did.  She sobbed for a minute or two and then she felt better...just like every girl does after a good, cleansing cry.

She has been so loving, holding my hand and telling me she loves me and complimenting my clothes, my hair, basically showing me in every way possible that she missed me...missed us all.    She has chattered non-stop and sang every single camp song from the month, even the "top secret" tribe songs, (don't ask me to tell you the lyrics...I am sworn to secrecy!) and already decided who she will request as cabin-mates next year while trying to convince DJ and Gracie they they would also LOVE camp and should go next year, too!

Then, last night as we ate dinner, she asked if she could pray.  We said yes, of course, and she stood beside the table like they do at camp and sang the Doxology...

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him all creatures here below.  Praise Him above ye heavenly host.  Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Amen."

The sweetness of her voice melted my heart.  The love she has developed for these old traditions and songs make me smile.  She has learned so much about God, about life and relationships, and about herself in the month away.  And she said it all when, out of habit, she raised her hand at the table to request a napkin.  We all chuckled and she said,

"I am not changing my lifestyle just because I am home!"

So I guess we will all be living a bit of camp life for a while.  That is perfectly fine with me!

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