Something was wrong.
It was quiet.
No fans producing background noise.
No sound of someone flipping over in the bed down the hall, no sound of a hard-backed turtle toy bumping into the wall as someone shifted the sheet.
It was unnerving.
As I tried to make myself sleep, I kept thinking about my two oldest children, Rex and Bobo (special names for them), away at camp for the first time.
Were they going to fall out of their bunk beds?
Were they going whizz in said bunk bed?
Were they going to wake up disoriented in the middle of the night, wonder where they were? Would they cry out for me?
Would their counselor know how to comfort them?
Yeah, and let’s talk about this “counselor” guy anyway.
Who is this child who happens to be taller than me? He looks like a eight year old, with his adorable sprinkle of freckles and quick smile. I bet he hopes he’s setting my fears to rest with that confident conversation and quick demonstration of kind authority, but he can’t do that while looking like a boy dressed in his father’s business suit. How can I entrust my children to this baby? His brain isn’t even fully developed yet!
This is all coming from a person who attended or worked at camps from the age of 9-25.
When I look back at who I was while I worked at camp, I am forced to concede that my boys are probably going to be fine while they’re away over the next few days. The people I worked with at camp were some of the most dedicated, creative, passionate people I’ve ever known. They bent over backwards and literally drove through fire to make camp a spectacular event for each child there.
[I mean it when I say fire. For some reason we thought it would be a great idea and dramatic entrance to a skit to have someone zoom a motorcycle through a line of fire, skid to a stop, and have the passenger, sans helmet, jump off the back. Let’s just say there were a lot of guardian angels flying around that summer.]
That’s the other thing I am quick to forget…
It isn’t only humans at work at camp. God is at work too.
So while I reorganize and try to distract myself from worrying they’ll come home covered in mosquito-bite welts, God reveals more of Himself, draws them closer, independent of the guidance my husband and I provide at home. And this is one of my greatest prayers and desires: that my children would invest in and cultivate their own dynamic relationships with God, independent of my own faith.
Camp is a great way to take that first step of releasing them to do this.
Even if it keeps me awake every night all week.
I’d love to hear some favorite memories of your experience with camp. Do you have any coping suggestions for the mom of some first-timers? How did you and your kids handle it?