bravery

There was an accident at camp the day after the 4th.

At pick-up... "Mrs. McCashew? Yeah, Caroline had a little fall on a wiggly stump, she is ok, but we wanted you to know." She climbed in and strapped her seatbelt and we pulled away to keep the pick up line moving. I tried to keep calm, but what was this accident and what had happened?? I pulled over immediately into a side road and inspected my beauty's bod. Some pretty nasty bruising and scrapes were on her leg requiring three band aids and similar marks were also across her upper chest.

Her explanation: She had been standing on the stump (that she shouldn't have been standing on) and it wiggled and fell over. When it fell, she fell and scraped her leg before the stump fell on top of her.

Good news/bad news. She got the warm and fuzzy for bravery that day, but a stump fell on her chest.

I was panicked for two reasons; a stump fell on my girl and if I had not been picking her up (it was a fluke transportation change secondary to the holiday) how would this information have been communicated to me? Then I pushed that aside because my six year old had given me a very complete picture of what had happened, complete with her inattention to the group and admittance that she should not have been standing on the stump.

I know her as well as I know myself and I had an idea that this might lead to her not wanting to participate in high ropes. I worried that she would shy away from it for the rest of the summer and that was not going to happen. It didn't take long for me to convince her that the best answer to this was to choose it as her number one elective the next time she updated her list and to my surprise, she agreed. She cheered at pick up yesterday when she told me she had gotten high ropes. In the next breath she alerted me that perhaps she was a bit too afraid to do everything in high ropes.

I told her all about how afraid of heights her mom is and that doing a high ropes course like this would make her feel like there was nothing she could not accomplish. I told her that when I was a camp counselor that one summer (that blew her MIND!) I had done a course like hers with my kids. She nodded, smiled and went on with her day and then today happened.

During the briefest of post camp debriefs, "We walked across a wire today! The first girl went up and took one step and she was done. I went up and walked across the whole wire and then I leaned back and they lowered me down! Tomorrow I get to do a squirrel fly!!"

Based on her description, this is probably pretty close to what she is doing, but I really hope she doesn't go this high?!

Squirrel Fly

shadows

If I am being honest, it has been building for some time now. A comment here, an extra tight hug, a pleading look. Then it became more tearful, more assertive, and longer lasting.

It is the shadows he is afraid of. Darkness is too dark, a soft light is enough to make the shadows longer. The door opened lets in the hall light, but creates more leering shadows on his wall. Tearful and frightened, he can't be consoled. He sits in his bed and calls softly for us, "I want my Mommy." "Daddy?"

Tonight we sprayed the monster spray on his walls and under his bed and by the door and over by the window. I held him in my arms and sang to him once and then again. I even stood up with him on my shoulder, blanket tucked around him, and sang the same song I made up when Caroline was a baby that I sang to them both at bedtime.

It's time to go night night
Time to go to bed
Time to close your eyes
Time to rest your head

Holding him now, compared to then is utterly different and remarkably the same. His legs graze my knees now, but his hand still gently brushes my back. His fist rubs the satin edge of his blanket. The weight of him is heavier, but his head in the same familiar spot. It has been so long since I have sung him to sleep like that and though it does not have the same instant effect, it works wonders to calm and reassure him. I still got it.

He is awake still. Quiet, but awake and watching around his room afraid to close his eyes.

the one about the chipmunk, the other one

Last year we missed the Meet & Greet at Camp because it was the same HOT night as preschool graduation. As a result, I spent most of the first half of Caroline's summer trying to pry information out of her about her fellow campers, activities, and who her counselors were. Even though it was an icky rainy night and I was single Mom for the evening, we moved mountains to get her there this year to meet her counselors Kerri (I know!), Dani, and Becca and lay eyes on her "bunk." It was so sloppy that I felt like I was mudding in the south getting out of the offsite parking lot. Lulu the Subaru can add MUD to the things she enjoys that some cars hide from. The kids loved it.

Yesterday, I packed all the things, after labeling all the things, after gathering all the things. If it doesn't have a Mabel's Label tag mate, kiss it goodbye. Even things with labels can go missing at camp, eventually finding their way home. When the kids change clothes several times a day with swimming and boating and wibiting (more later), six year old girls lose things when they all wear the same Merida underwear and pink mesh swim shoes. I heart you Mabel's Labels.

We were off our game Monday; new routine, both kids requiring swim wear, towels, sunscreen and a change of clothes. I missed the first day of camp photo, BUT remembered to apply her nametag announcing far and wide that she is a "GOLD CHIPMUNK." I prepped her en route the way I had last year, reviewing the emailed weekly schedule. This year I snapped a photo of the email on my phone for easy access. SMART. Drama, Dutch Auction, Swim, ELECTIVE, and Nature. She panicked about the Elective, "what if I don't get gymnastics??" "You can try to get it next week, you will get something from the list you made." She found her little friend from school at the bus stop and they held hands and walked to the bus and she barely kissed me goodbye. This was a far cry from last year when the tears rolled and I convinced her and myself that this day would be the most amazing day of her life.

The differences didn't stop there. When I picked her up she was tired, but animated, telling me every single detail of her entire day. Her swim instructor's name is Greg, "just like Hokie," and "we back floated and front floated and I jumped off the dock into the deep water and he said he would help me and he did." What did the most dramatic six year old do in drama? "We had the best day in drama, Mommy. We got to dress up anyway we wanted and we had a FASHION SHOW!" Nature? "We dug in the ground for baby frogs and I caught one and look at my hand!' (holding up dirty hand with what I can only hope was dirt) Deep breath. The Elective. "Mommy, I got gymnastics! I get to do it all week!!!" (pile of laughs and cheers and smiles)

Sigh.

We complained to ourselves about the injustice of losing a significant discount for canceling the first week of camp that overlapped thanks to snow days with the last week of school. We bellyached about the cost and how could we imagine doing this for BOTH kids when Connor goes to kindergarten as we crunched numbers to estimate what down payment (yes, down payment!) we can make in the fall to save us from pricey installments.

That ride home, this morning in the car with her when I told her she will be Swimming, Boating, spending an hour on the HUGE inflatable obstacle course with a brand new trampoline called the Wibit, doing Gymnastics again AND spending time in Arts and Crafts she was so happy and so excited that my heart nearly burst. Camp is good for all our souls. I don't even GO and I love it as much as she does.

The night before camp during our little pillowtalk session, she told me she was sad that she had so many playdate requests from friends at school and so little time with camp to schedule them. I reassured her that a night at the local ice cream institution or a post dinner playground session would be just as much fun as any other playdate. Skeptical, I reminded her of all her friends who get to be pick ups at school, that go home with their Moms. I reminded her how much she had wanted to be a pick up some days and not go to her afterschool program. I reminded her that she LOVED her program and how special it was that she got to go. I explained that camp is even more special than that, that her Mom works hard everyday at her job not so she can buy cute tops at banana (sometimes), but so Caroline can spend her summer at the most special place on Earth; her camp. She hugged me so tightly, fiercely and whispered in my ear, "I love you Mommy Chipmunk. I love you so, so much." (yup, I cried after that.)

Summer has officially kicked off here at McCasa. There are dozens of homemade pretzel bites in the freezer, Ina's Shrimp Salad is halfway made, and we are mostlyish packed for the 3rd of July at the most special beach.