Sunday, July 19, 2009

Right about now...

This afternoon we put watched K walk out of the church sanctuary with her arms around her pillow, chatting with the girl next to her, and she didn't once glance back to find her family. We followed the kids out and caught a glimpse of K in a window seat of the large tour bus. We waved, she saw us and waved a few times, but mostly her attention was focused on talking and laughing with the other kids on the bus. We waited until the buses left the parking lot before we went home, just L and us alone.

It was the moment K had been waiting for; one she had been anticipating for over a year when she first learned that kids could go the summer after they finished 3rd grade. Many of the kids in our church who have finished 3rd-5th grade have gone to children's camp. 2 hours and 1 state away for 1 week. I'm not sure what part K was most excited about - riding the bus, sleeping in a cabin, the zip line, the giant swing, being with other kids her age, being away from home and feeling all grown-up and independent.

There were a few things K was a bit nervous about. None of the girls she talked to in class every week were assigned to her cabin. Many of her friends are in other grades and she wouldn't have much time to spend with them. She quickly decided that she would just introduce herself to whoever sat next to her on the bus and that would be her special friend for the week. Or she'd introduce herself to someone once she got to her cabin and hang out with them. See? There's no problem that can't be solved by a girl determined to have a good time.

Right now, at a camp down in South Carolina, there's a lodge full of 3rd grade girls that are dressed in their pajamas, sitting on bunks while shrieks and giggles fill the air. They're talking loud because...well...they're girls...and they're excited. It's the first night of camp. Some of that excitement is covering up a tiny bit of nervousness, though. It's their first time away at camp and they've got a whole week of being away from home and family to make it through. In just a few minutes, the counselors will call "Lights out!" and the girls will slide into their sleeping bags but it will be a little while before they drift off to sleep. Some will be too wound up with promises of fun for tomorrow. Some will begin to sniff and the tears will start. The counselors won't sleep much tonight as they go from bed to bed, checking on each young occupant. They'll hold hands and pat heads and pray quietly.

What will K do? She will probably be the first asleep as lights out comes well after her normal bedtime and K has always loved to sleep. I don't think Little Miss Independent will have much trouble with homesickness, but I do think she'll feel a twinge or two. I hope she does anyway. You know, just a twinge to make me feel like I'm needed. While K is closing her eyes in sleep, I'll be closing mine in prayer - for K, for the other kids, for the counselors, and that they all manage to not fall asleep in their cereal at breakfast.

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