Sunday, July 31, 2016

To all the mamas sending your first babies off to camp today...

To all the mamas sending your first babies off to camp today…

I talked to you at church today and saw a flash of panic in your eyes; does he even know how to shower?  Has she ever put a ponytail in by herself?  What if they fall off their bunk and out of the window?  Will someone be with them if they have to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night?

And guess what mom?  Your kids do need you, but not nearly as much as you think.  They are able to keep themselves alive and eat solid food, and at kid’s camp, that is enough.  Now cleanliness, that is another story…have you ever smelled a child after a week at camp? 

As for packing, you can do everything you want to try to keep them organized: put their clothes in Ziplocs labeled with the day; include a plastic bag for dirty clothes and wet swimsuits, take photos of outfits and put them in their duffle, but they will probably come home with all clean underwear because they are still wearing the pair that they came in.

You will most likely embarrass them by making up their bed with dinosaur sheets and their favorite stuffed animal and by snaking an extension cord across the room so the box fan that you brought will blow gently on them while they sleep (so they don’t overheat).

You might, like I did, even decide to write them daily notes and include a photo album in their bags to ensure them that all is well with the world.  In my mother-thought, I assumed this would give great comfort to my first-born as he made his first long journey away from me.  On the drive home, when I asked him if he liked the notes I wrote him, he said, “ I don’t know.  I never opened them.”

You will think about them every single day and the week will drag on endlessly and you will ache to have them home doing regular things like unloading the dishwasher or feeding the pets or giving you kisses at bedtime.  And when you pick them up, your heart will explode because they will have SURVIVED!  And not only that, they will chat you up with all of the stories of the amazingness that was camp, and all of the things they learned…without you by their side.

So, scared mamas, please let your child go and live apart from you for a few days in the hands of capable and loving counselors.  They will be FINE.  They will grow in CONFIDENCE.  And God will teach them about HIMSELF in His own—and their own—special way. 

It’s a really hard thing to release our kids.  And it’s even harder to see them become independent…and not need us as much.  But it’s how they grow.  And it’s how we start to learn to let go.  It’s the natural way of things—God’s way—and it’s right.

So now, go!  Take them off to camp and tell them how much fun they are going to have and that you are so proud of them and that you will be just fine.

‘Cause you will; it just takes a little practice to let go…and a lot of trust in your good, good Father.  I get it.

Just know, I am praying for you. 

And I think you are very brave.

Happy camp week 2016!



Monday, July 25, 2016

'Member that Time?

'Member that time when Tess decided that she and her siblings, her cousin, and her friend should play “Pioneers” on the hottest day of the summer?  And remember how they had to stay outside all day because air conditioning wasn’t a thing in the olden days and how they had to sit in the shade on quilts and do things like knit or watch clouds because the swing set had plastic swings and plastic hadn’t been invented in pioneer times?  And how they wore heavy old dresses and overalls to look authentic?

And member how they made gingerbread cookies the night before because that was something that real olden days people ate and how they tried to cook biscuits on a stone slab over the open fire in the 90 degree morning air?  And how the neighbor’s dog ate all the cookies and the biscuits just stayed soupy even though the fire was as hot as Hades?  Member that? 

And then remember how they all got sick from the humidity and the sun and the fire and all the hotness and how they finally came inside and sat on cold leather couches and ate fruit snacks and watched “Land Before Time” and fell asleep? 

Yeah, well that was the last time they played Pioneer Days and they decided that living like Laura Ingalls Wilder really wasn’t very fun and that being an olden days person was very boring.  And hot.