Friday, June 24, 2011

Home From Camp

Being away from my eleven year old son for a week when he heads off to his favorite summer boys' camp each June, takes a little getting used to. First, there are the daily hugs I go without. Secondly, there's one less lunch I prepare each day. I can't say that I miss reminding my son about the dirty socks he's forgotten to pick up off the floor, nor do I miss telling him, "That's enough time on the computer. That's enough time on the Wii". But yes, the absence of the hugs makes for the toughest adjustment each June.

But today was camper pick up day. We drove to the campground and parked our car. "Where do we go to find him?" my sister asked. Before I could answer, Paul was at my carside window, and as usual, being the clown he can be, he was making a silly weird face at me through the glass. "There's my boy!"

We quickly gathered his things and brought them to the van. Knowing there was a dinner to celebrate the end of the campers' week, we headed to the dining hall where we met up with Paul's friend True and his Dad. Munching on hot dogs, chips, and watermelon, the boys goofed around and talked about some of the week's highlights. When it was time to leave, they each pretended they'd never see each other again, although in actuality, they live less than 10 minutes away from one another here in town.

I had to snicker at the two of them. Each had gone to this camp for the past three years now, and the faces of the 8 year old boys who first went away for a week at the camp flashed in my memory. The boys, now headed off to Middle School in just two months' time, are growing taller and more self assured. Yet there they were, sitting at the table, making silly faces, giggling, and rough housing a little, just enough to push True's Dad to tell them to "Settle down".

I'm well aware of the adjustments we'll make as Paul continues to grow older. But as he headed upstairs tonight to go to bed, he did not hesitate to come over to me to give me a hug goodnight. It's exactly that sweetness in him that will give me the patience to continue reminding him to pick up those stinky dirty socks.

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