Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grant Goes To Camp

Grant hiking by the Sandy River

Grant leaves tomorrow for an entire week of camp.  I've been dreading this day for months.  Each time I'd go online to register him and make it official, the heart pain started.  Sadness that my little man is growing up.  Anxiety about turning him over to a complete stranger for an entire week.  Joy over what a great kid he's growing into.  The tears would flow and the computer would go off.

One of Grant's mentors is Peter.  He's about the coolest guy around and he recently got married.  I mentioned my emotional turmoil to Peter's mom at the wedding rehearsal dinner.  She and I laughed when she told me that Peter's younger brother (Micah) was spending his entire summer at Twin Rocks as a camp counselor.  Micah and I high-fived and he promised to request to have Grant in his cabin.  Knowing there would be a familiar face in the sea of unfamiliar gave me great peace.  Grant was thrilled and relieved too.

For the past year and a half Grant has held down a job scooping dog poop once a week for our neighbor at $2 per poop patrol.  He's been tithing off his earnings and saving the rest for something big.  I don't think he originally intended the "something big" to be going to camp.  Nevertheless, we asked him to contribute $100 toward the cost of his camp tuition.  He, like any kid, balked at the idea but we wanted him to value his camp experience and what better way than by investing in it sacrificially?
If there is water, Grant will be in it.

He hemmed and hawed for weeks.  The longer he deliberated, the closer the enrollment deadline came.  The night before registration closed we forced the issue.  Contribute $100 of poop patrol money, go to camp and have a blast, or stay home.  He tried negotiating and told us, "Well, it's worth $40 to me, but not $100."  It was hard to not laugh out loud.  After much emotion (and continued negotiation) he decided going to camp was worthy of his earnings and he proudly counted out one hundred dollars in $1 and $5 dollar increments.

We filled out all the registration forms, requested Micah as his counselor and Dane (one of Grant's friends) as his cabin mate, deposited the wad of cash at the bank, and excitedly opened the packet of pre-camp information.  The closer departure day came the more excited Grant got and the more heartsick I became.

The mom in me runs every worse-case scenario.  What if Grant gets lonely, sad, sick or injured?  Will even half of what he brings to camp make it back in his bag and home again?  I'm sure his camp counselor won't kiss him goodnight and ruffle his hair like I always do.  How will he survive without me?  Or maybe I should be asking myself how will I survive without him?

Curt informed me that dudes don't bring a suitcase to camp.  They bring duffles.  So tonight I chatted with Grant as he finished packing his duffle bag.  I reminded him to not allow his bag to vomit its contents all over his bunk, the floor and any surrounding areas.  I heard myself saying, "Please - use the zipper!"  I reminded him to shower and to use his toothbrush at least once a day.  He borrowed a "ditty" bag from Curt for his bathroom supplies and put his Bible, journal and pen in a separate backpack to take to chapel.  We talked about what a journal is for and things he might want to write in it.  I put him to bed since I don't get to do that for an entire week.  We prayed together and I choked back tears as I ruffled his hair and kissed him goodnight.

After he went to bed I sat down at the kitchen counter and wrote my son a letter for each day that he'll be at camp.  Each letter had a Bible verse and some sort of question about how camp was going.  I blubbered my way through every letter, sealed them shut, and taped a favorite candy bar to the outside of each envelope.  I snuck up to his room, shifted his sleeping bag to the side, and added my goodies to his duffle bag.

In theory Grant will open one letter and eat one candy bar each day.  In reality, he'll probably eat all the candy in one day and forget about the letters until a few minutes before we arrive to pick him up.  But I like to think he'll care.

Hiking together last week, but that's another post
Working through the emotional process of letting my firstborn continue to spread his wings has been tear-inducing but freeing.  Grant is such a wonderful son and I know he's going to soak up every minute at camp.  He will most likely be the loudest and most boisterous camper at Twin Rocks next week.  I can already picture him hiking, swimming, sitting around the campfire, wave jumping, learning to shoot a bow and arrow, eating enough for a grown man, belching and farting a lot.  I'm optimistic that he'll learn a thing or two about how much Jesus loves him in the process of having all this fun.

If you think of it, will you pray for him while he's gone?  Pray that the bond Grant and Dane have as friends will grow stronger this week.  Pray they will make new friends as well.  Pray for safety and protection from harm.  Pray against loneliness or sadness.  Most importantly, pray that Grant will bond with God in an intimate and beautiful way that grows his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior.  I can hardly wait to be regaled with stories for the entire two hour drive home on Friday night!

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