Well, as all good things must do do, the boy’s week at summer camp wrapped itself up. He had to pack his bags, wave goodbye to cabin living, and come down off the mountain, back to reality.
The thing about teenage boys is that they don’t really care about communal living, like their mothers apparently do. Boys can share a campground bathroom with fifty other campers and not even blink an eye over it. They can also wear the same campfire-smoke infused sweatshirt all week, and still think they’re cool.
(Hubs wants to patent a cologne that smells like campfire smoke, gun powder and bacon.)
(Apparently, Hubs doesn’t want any womenfolk around him.)
(When Hubs’ cologne debuts in drugstores across the nation, I will pass out small spray bottles of Febreeze to girls everywhere.)
The boy had a blast at camp. That probably has everything to do with the fact that they played Capture the Flag in the dark, in the woods. It’s every teenage boy’s dream to simulate a rescue mission under war-like circumstances, and church camp is certainly the safe spot to carry that out at. They also had paintball WITH BOWS AND ARROWS, y’all. I’d never heard of it, but apparently the marshmallow-like tips on the arrows were coated in paint, and when you got hit, the mark showed brightly for everyone to know about it. The kids and counselors set up barricades and wove their ways through them, trying to shoot arrows at their enemies and eliminate the other team with big splotches of red paint on T-shirts.
I’m sure all the mamas loved this.
Dear Tide With Color-Safe Bleach, you are the wind beneath my wings, as I raise two boys.
The kids also hiked and fished; they swam and canoed; they zip-lined and rock-climbed. They played an endless string of team-building games, had more water fights than they could count, and ate home cooked meals, three times a day, which included a hefty dose of bacon in the mornings. And somewhere, in between all that FUN, they had Bible studies and fell into deep talks about Jesus and what He can do for a fellow.
When Hubs and I picked the boy up, the camp had a little program for the parents. The kids all had Bible verses to recite and their cabin’s motto to say. There was a fantastic slideshow that counselors stayed up all night to create, with video footage they’d taken all week on a Go-Pro camera.
The boy’s cabin did their little presentation for the parent program…
(The boy looks so much like my dad in those pictures up there, it’s unreal. He has ALWAYS looked like my dad, but, the older he gets, the more and more he looks like his beloved Pa.)
(Also? Those are his good jeans. They came home smelling like campfire smoke and bacon.)
If you’re wondering why the boy and his buddy, T, are both wearing dressier polo shirts, I can tell you.
1. The boy would wear a collared shirt EVERY!! SINGLE!! DAY!! of his teenage life, if his mother could keep them all washed and dried and hanging in his closet.
2. There’s always a rather fancy banquet dinner every year, on the last night of camp. The kids are all asked to dress up for it. And, as the boy is very prone to do, he simply SLEPT IN HIS CLOTHES all night long, and chose to sleep in on the last morning before pickup, rather than hop in the shower.
Amazingly enough, the boy’s stuff was ALL TOGETHER and accounted for. I feel like this is a major parenting victory for me, and, people, I’ll take it! It has been almost sixteen years of asking him, “Where’s your stuff? Why don’t you keep all your stuff together, in the same spot, all the time?” And then it’s been almost sixteen years of me picking up odds and ends out of various Lost and Founds around town, that belong to us. But this year? NOTHING OF THE BOY’S WAS IN THE LOST AND FOUND. I feel like that called for confetti and the sound of a champagne cork popping.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” That’s a bit of Biblical truth, which I never thought we would see happen. I figured that promise was simply for all the Israelite children, as they managed to wander in the desert their entire lives, without losing one of their sandals, or the belt to their best robe. I didn’t figure it was a promise for US to achieve, because WE SPREAD OUR STUFF OUT, FAR AND WIDE, EVERYWHERE WE WENT. ALWAYS. It took ALMOST SIXTEEN YEARS, y’all, but if you’re a mother of a younger boy, struggling with this right now (“Where is your sweatshirt? Where is your left sneaker? Why is 44% of your belongings in the Lost and Found?! Do you TRY to make me crazy?!!“), I’m here to encourage you that things will come around, if you just stay the course!
Here’s some of our little group from Small Town, USA on the last day of camp.
They were all ridiculously happy.
They all had unwashed hair.
The boys smelled like campfire smoke.
The girls smelled slightly better.
And they were all standing on the truth that they are wholly loved by Jesus, each and every one of them.
Although I wasn’t overly thrilled with the week’s worth of dirty laundry that the boy brought home (Mud! Mildew! Paintball marks! Spaghetti sauce!), at least he arrived home with everything he took with him. And… man alive! Was his mama ever happy to have him back home!