He’s Baaa-aack!!

So Hubs and I took Thing 2, and we drove up to the mountain this weekend to collect the boy.  When we pulled in next to his group’s cabin, he came running, quick as lightning, to our Suburban, and he promptly threw his arms around all of us and squeezed tightly.

THAT is how a mama likes to be welcomed.

And then he ruined it all by saying, “This was a great week, Mom.  I missed you, but I think Gage and I and Cousin M could have lasted another week up here.”

Their hair was a little messier than it was when we dropped them off, but this batch of boys was happy.

They have also emphatically declared that Counselor Waldo ROCKS.  In return, Waldo simply said, “This is one of the best groups of boys I’ve ever gotten to work with.  They all knew each other to begin with, which was a plus, and they all got along fantastically well.”

We knew it would be like that when we dropped the boys off and saw the list of cabin roommates!

I wanted to squeeze these three boys to pieces, but then I caught a whiff of them, and I decided that squeezing and hugging and cheek-smooching could PLUM WAIT until their little bodies had been exposed to some Ivory soap.  And some shampoo.  And some more Ivory soap.  And some more shampoo.  They smelled like campfire smoke, sweat, feet, dirt, and fun.

The boy and Gage said they can’t wait to come back next year, and they warned Waldo that they’d be requesting his cabin.

The boy and Cousin M (and Matt, the photo-bomber) felt the same way.

Apparently, Waldo is so popular because this is what he told the boys this week:

“Showers are optional.  The only time I’ll require you to shower is after we get into the big mud pit for our annual mud fight.  After that, YOU get to decide if you shower again or not.”

“If you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, open the cabin’s back door, stand on the back step, and pee away.  And if you have to go to the bathroom in the daylight hours, you may do the same thing, because no one can actually see the back door of our cabin, and the bathroom is a bit of a hike from here.”

“Our cabin motto will be: LOVE JESUS, AND LET’S MAKE THIS THE BEST WEEK OF OUR ENTIRE LIVES!”

The enormous mud-pit war was on Monday night, after we dropped the boys off.  The camp director filmed the annual event, and we all got to see the footage when we picked the boys up.  Picture a mud pit like what the wooly mammoths fell into and couldn’t get out of.  Picture the mud as BLACK, instead of brown.  Picture kids running through it in the video, and falling down in it in the video, and slipping and sliding and skating and flopping through it in the video, and then picture not being able to identify your own son, because they all look exactly alike, because everyone is completely covered, from head to toe, in black mud.

Waldo made them all take a shower on Monday night.  The boys were powerfully pleased to let us know that NO ONE showered again for the entire week.  I think it’s safe to say that they actually BOASTED about going a week with only one trip through the clean water.

I cannot even begin to describe the laundry situation when we got home.  I emptied the boy’s bag, and dirt fell on my floor.

And yes.  Everything in his bag was either sopping wet or damp, because on Monday night, he did NOT put his wet towel from showering in the bag, because I had threatened him six ways to Saturday not to do that.  What he did instead was stuff his sopping wet clothes from the mud pit and ensuing water fight into the bag.  As luck would have it, the boy assured me that having wet clothes was just fine, because “I just wore the same outfit all week, Mom; I didn’t even need all those other shirts you packed me.  I even slept in these clothes.”

My hopes of him ever getting married and moving away from home fell to rock bottom this weekend.

This is Thing 2.  He did not spend the week at camp, but I had to toss a snapshot of him in that I took at the camp, because he’s adorable.  Thing 2 stayed at home with me and Hubs all week.  He had a bath EVERY!  SINGLE!  NIGHT!  this week.  His feet did not look anything like the big boys’ feet did at all.

This is Gage’s younger brother, Deed.  Deed was too little to go to camp this week, but he likes to smile for my camera anyway.  Deed also had a bath every day this week, but he was powerfully impressed with the big boys for going SO LONG without shampoo and soap, and he hopes to do the exact same thing some day.

One of the highlights of the week is that the boy buddied up with a new friend, who happens to attend his school.  We got to give D a ride to and from camp.  The boy has gone from kindergarten through the 5th grade, and he never, not even once, had D in his class — somehow, they always managed to get different teachers.  Hubs and I like D.  We even invited him to eat lunch with us this weekend when we brought him down off the mountain.

The boy and D talked nonstop all the way home about their week.  Although we had seen the mud pit war on film at the parents’ program, they explained it to us in great detail.  We heard about the night games, and how much fun they were in the dark.  We heard about the hike to a big mountain peak.  We heard about their trip to the lake, where the boy had three bites on his fishing line.  We heard about the devotionals they did.  We heard about how they ate the very best hamburgers of their lives at camp.  We heard about the sermon that they heard one night.  We heard about how one of their friends became a Christian this week.  We heard every possible story there was to tell about Waldo and how much fun he was.  We heard about what they learned about Joseph and Jacob and Samson and Abraham.  We heard about who had the worst-smelling gas in the cabin.

And then, bless their hearts, I heard all about HOW they spent their money at the camp store every day.  The boy said, “Mom, I bought a bag of M&Ms and a Hershey’s candy bar, plus a Yoo-Hoo drink and a Coke every single day.  That was my usual afternoon snack.”

I could just pinch him, y’all.

I asked him, “Didn’t you want to buy a T-shirt with the camp’s logo on it?”

He replied, “Mom, clothes are such a dumb thing to buy.  The candy was way better!”

I looked at D.  He said, “I bought licorice and Starbursts every day.  And a Mountain Dew.”

I am so thankful to have these boys back down off the mountain, so we can ween them off of their sugar highs this week.

And also?

People, after I washed the boy’s laundry, I had to get a rag and scrub out the canister in my washing machine!

I think that’s a definite sign that they all had one fantastic week.

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