The Historian and I feel that our Dreamer, at almost 10, is ready to experience some responsibility and freedom in a safe and controlled environment. We have no thought of allowing her to leave the umbrella of our family’s protection without a great deal of prayer and planning for her good - even for just a week. We prayed that a reputable Christian Summer Camp would be a wonderful encounter for her, and a place where she could make some friends and enjoy God’s creation. Last year was a great experience for her, and so our decision to allow her to return this year was much easier. We felt good about finding a safe place for our sweet girl.
It often seems to me like there aren’t many ‘safe places’ for our kids. My sister and I wandered our neighborhood at will and ran to the candy store by our selves. We hung out at the outdoor ice rink and played at the park. We slid down Mickey Mouse Hill and spent long afternoons at our friends homes. Our parents knew where we were and we were safe. Now, we need to go with our kids to the park, to the hill, to the candy store, to the rink. There are too many people who are looking for children who are left to their own devices, and their intent is to harm. It’s sad, but true. We have friends who we trust, and family. We go almost everywhere our children go and we sometimes try to stay in the background, but we are always watching.
So, we began to pack for Camp. Last year I made a list of all we had sent with her to camp and when she got home we went over the list and made a few changes - added another pair of shoes and pants to the list and reduced the number of shorts. I also made a big note to myself to shop at Goodwill and not send ANYTHING remotely light colored or special to her. I typed said lists and reminders, printed it on cardstock and laminated it. I ASKED the Dreamer to put it in her sock drawer with the What To Pack for Grammy’s House Winter and Summer lists. I like lists, can you tell?
When we went to find the all important list, it was no where to be found! Hmmm. I did what any other Mommy in a bind would do, I panicked than Google-ed ‘What to pack for summer camp’. I came up with some pretty interesting lists - some helpful. I also came up with an article about getting your kids vaccinated for Meningitis before camp and an article relating to camp born infections. Naturally, I became concerned. I even did some worrying. Then an article appeared in our local paper raising the same concerns again. Hmmm.
We prayed, packed her up and took her to Camp in peace.
I know we are over protective, and I am prone to worry. All week long we prayed for her and kept on leaving her in the safety of our Heavenly Father’s hands. As we do every week. I am not crazy enough to think that just because she is in our care, she is perfectly safe from harm. We know bad stuff happens to kids of really responsible parents too. We have the Storyteller's x-rays to prove our point.
We breathed more easily when we got her home - safe and sound. We didn’t know she was packing more than just her suitcase! She has a bug - a pretty nasty bug. Her tummy hurts. She is tired. She is really tired of going to the bathroom. We’ve been to the Doctor and are on our way to finding out just which bad bug she brought home form camp, but most likely it is Giardia, from the pond or creek at Camp. With lots of liquids, healthy foods, medicine and rest she will be just fine.
Our lives are in God’s hands - there is no safer place. The Storyteller started to ask me if maybe God had forgotten to protect Sister from the bad bugs at Camp, but he stopped himself and said, “No, wait a minute. All of our days are numbered by God, Mommy, and He allowed Sister to get sick so that He can be praised more and more. We have to thank God for the bugs Sister got.” And so we did.