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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Camp Pick Up!

What a long week it has been.  Its hard to explain how missing one child can set me off balance and shake the foundation of our entire home.   With Parker gone, we distracted ourselves with a short road trip to my brother's. Oscar stayed with my parents.  It was like a vacation, not having to run after a two year old for two days. I'm not exaggerating, if Oscar is out of our house he is on the go, and I am chasing him in stores, restaurants, malls and cemeteries, if he is not contained he is running for the hills. We spent our vacation laying by a pool eating good food and drinking good drinks.  Jack belly flopped out of a tree but made sure to scream "I'm Ooooo. kkkkkk on the way down." We let them drink soda and stay up until midnight.  I enjoyed myself but I could' t help but wish Parker was there.
The camp system had a feature that allowed you email your camper. I sent him a few emails (everyday), some a bit mushy due to the alcohol.  A friend of mine wants to invent a breathalyzer on any communication device to avoid embarrassing over indulgent emails and texts.   I only got a little too deep when I wrote , your bed is cold and your room is dark, the house isn't the same.. to a nine year old.
Eventually the pick up day came.  The night before I felt like a house guest was coming. I did all of his laundry, cleaned his room, made a cake, got food for his favorite dinner. I couldn't sleep and woke up early. If this is how I feel after a week of camp, I can't imagine what college is going to be like.  I always thought is was sad when women said that they were nothing without their kids. I never felt that I was a nobody before kids, and I'm certainly a somebody after kids, however this somebody was a pathetic shell of a mother who whined all day and yelled at her husband for letting their first born go to camp.
I wasn't that I just missed him, it was the circumstances that I left. If he would have shown any signs of enthusiasm to go its one thing, but when he is pleading with me to not leave him. Don and I have agreed to disagree on this subject. He said he never said that, but I said he didn't need to because his eyes said it for him.   At least he had a close friend with him.
I pulled up to the cabin at 8:45a.m. , the pick up time was 9. It was a ghost town, apparently they were eating breakfast.  I took that opportunity to go into the cabin and see what it looked like after a week of camp.  It looked like 15 nine and ten year olds plus 4 teenagers who didn't have their mothers cleaning up after them would keep their rooms. I will leave the gory details to your imagination.  I went to Parker's bunk.  His bed was made and his photo album was placed on a shelf.. next to about 4 or 5 skittles wrappers.  I got a letting choked up.  I noticed his friends bunk was empty and figured his parents had been early.   I decided to wait outside for him to arrive.  Another mother had showed up and I could tell she was as anxious as I was.  Her son's cabin came down first. She actually jumped up when she saw him and waved. Her son resisted the urge to run, and cooley sauntered over and gave her a long hug.  I took her as an example.
Parker had been along with these "guys" for a whole week and established his mojo, and I wasn't going to bust it by calling him peanut and picking him up.  I was going to go off of his cue as to how I greeted him.   A few more cabins came down the hill.  I was a mess of butterflies and excitement, kind of how I felt as I waited his birth, minus the killer contractions.   I saw a few familiar boys. I knew the boys in his cabin because they had posted pictures on Facebook of the group, none of which Parker was smiling I might add.
I saw a version of what my son looked like when I left him, except he was about 2 shades blonder, and 4 shades darker.  He saw me and ran towards me screaming "mama!" and almost knocked me down when he hugged me. I lost it.  I tried to hide my tears behind my sunglasses.  I hugged him as long as I could and then took an inventory of his appearance. His clothes were clean, his body...full of poison something and heat rash and I have never thought he looked better.  He said, "I had so much fun!"
The week long of worry was a waste of time.   We went to collect his belongings in  he cabin and he said goodbye to his new friends. The one he came with went home after the second day because he was homesick.  I couldn't believe it.  He was the reason we came to this camp! I felt bad for him, but felt even more proud that Parker stuck it out.
Getting out of camp is a long process, but it gave us time to talk. And by talk I mean ask him questions and getting one word answers.   He had money left over from his store account.  He only spent $26.  I was impressed until he told me that he only got sodas from the store and they were $1. 26 sodas in six days. His pride was that he got bit by a leech and the camp counselors had to burn it off. If that wasn't thrilling enough, he jumped over a snake pit, saw a frog that was bigger than his hand and caught a fish. He also swam, climbed a rock wall, went tubing, shot a rifle and bow and arrow (wait what?) and ate pizza for breakfast (again, what?)
The bottom line is that he had more fun then he has ever had and it didn't include any electronics whatsoever. More importantly, he found confidence in himself that allowed him to try new things and succeed at them only holding himself accountable for his success.  Something I wish I had the confidence to do more.
He told me he won the "coolest middle name award" which happens to be my maiden name. And that the kids in his camp called him by that name all week.  He said he tried to get his friend Joe to stay, but he missed home too much. I asked if he felt homesick and he said only when he thought of us, and so he decided to just not think of us at all.
When we got home he was thankfully for air conditioning and excited to see his dad and brothers. But, more excited to see his dogs.  He took a shower (my strong suggestion) and laid down on the couch.  He fell asleep until dinner, maybe it was lack of caffeine or just the comfort of being home.
As much as I think I need to take care of him, he proved to me that he is fully capable of taking care of himself, and if I think about it, that is what we have been striving for all along.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to see that camp was a success! My daughter is about to turn five and I was feeling anxious just reading your last post. I don't know what I'm going to do when she goes to school in the fall!