Getting ready for camp


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Austin, my younger son, goes off to camp this week, God Seekers camp at Birchwood Camp in Chugiak. I’m not sure I’m prepared for him to leave for three days. It’s not that he is going off without me, but that I’m sending him completely alone, without brother or sister as well. Whenever I leave them, I feel comfortable knowing that all three have each other’s backs. If I forget to tell the babysitter every rule, detail, or peculiarity about my children, the others will take care of it. They know just what to do to make each other feel better. They care for each other and look out for each other all the time. I never worry about a thing when I know they are together.

Not that they always get along. They fight like all siblings do. They do also all need their personal time. Xavier sets his alarm to get him up early just so that he can play by himself. Austin has been known to disappear in the middle of the day, just to be by himself.

In fact, Austin wasn’t sold on the idea of going off to camp this week until he found out that he was going alone. I’ll admit I forgot to ask him if he wanted to go. You see, I’d been putting it off, thinking I had plenty of time. Until I got an e-mail telling me that if I wanted to send my boys to camp this year I needed to sign them up ASAP. I got on the website and saw that Austin’s camp was about two weeks away. It’s amazing how time flies when you spend a month traveling. So I got the paperwork filled out and sent off. When the packing list arrived in my e-mail inbox, I remembered that I hadn’t yet told my child he was going.

So I asked him, “Do you want to go to camp next week?”

“No thanks;” was the reply, “I’m good.”

That was not the answer I was looking for. Excitement, “Mom, that would be so cool,” even just “Sure,” was what I thought I’d get. But no, I got a nonchalant refusal. The spot was reserved, camp was paid for; I had to talk him into it. Get him excited. I started telling him all the cool things he would get to do. Brent and Liz, a couple who work at the camp, went to Russia with me and I got to hear about all the cool things campers get to do. I told him about the lake, the cool games, and all the friends he would meet. He loves Sunday School, so I told him it would be like three days of continuous Sunday School. However, Austin was still unconvinced. At that point, I decided to stop trying to get him excited and start preparing him for the inevitable.

“We will take you Wednesday morning and drop you off. You’ll be all by yourself, but you will meet lots of new kids.”

“Wait, Xavier’s not going with me?”

“No, honey, I’m sorry.”

“That’s so cool; I can’t wait, three days without Xavier.”

Now he’s excited about the lake, the games, learning about Jesus, staying in a cabin, and all the other things I told him about camp.

So maybe it is time to break apart my three musketeers. Time apart may be just what they need. But I’m still not ready.

 

Eagle River’s Lori Spears is the wife of a U.S. Army Captain.

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