Three years ago, when her brother came home from his first year at church camp with all kinds of stories about his adventures, K was so sad that she didn't get to go. She didn't get to go the next year, or even the next. Finally this year she was old enough (and Mom was semi-confident she could handle sending her baby girl to New Mexico for five days). I hoped and prayed that God would look over her and show himself in amazing ways this week. My hopes have been fulfilled.
K's name means "brave".
That about sums up this week, for both of us. If you know her, you know my daughter is a sensitive, careful girl. She is quick to love and easily hurt (just like her mama). She is NOT the type that I would think would happily hop on a bus armed with her Bible, some snacks and her BFF and spend five days away from home with strangers. The days leading up to camp were filled with excitement and preparation.... buying sunscreen, bug spray, travel sized toiletries, new clothes and water shoes. The night before camp she was packed and as ready to go as she could be....
Ready.... until she came out of her room at 11pm crying because she was going to miss me. "What if I get homesick and sad?" she asked. After a dozen hugs and the best pep talk I could give, she finally went to sleep and woke up on Monday with her teeth chattering from excitement.
We had another iffy moment after loading her luggage on the bus and heading back into the church to wait for send-off. "My tummy hurts." Oh boy. Ok, another pep talk. As many conflicting emotions as I was having at that time, I know my little girl's heart was filled with even more. She was excited and scared, anxious and happy. She seemed to pull herself together and by the time we headed to the buses she was ready to go.
We had another moment of slight panic while waiting for the buses to pull out. It seemed to take FOREVER, and then the door opened on one of the buses. I'll give you one guess whose kid was on that bus. Hubby and I held our breath, just waiting for K to climb off the bus with her pillow in her arms and tears on her face. Alas, there was no trouble and nobody backed out. They were off!
It was so incredibly difficult to not only send my daughter off with strangers, but to send her to another STATE and not be in contact with her at all. No phone calls, no texts, nothing. I did write her letters for each day so she would get "mail" at camp, and she told me she loved that I put a joke on the back of each envelope. I am lucky that so many of my friends and people I know on Facebook either were at camp or had a friend at camp, so I was able to see some pictures during the week of my girl having a grand time.
My nature girl in her element.... bandana in her hair, sun-kissed cheeks, barefoot in a creek.
This girl right here with K is the reason I agreed to let K go to camp. Knowing her bestie would be there with her, also away from home for the first time, was such a comfort for me. I love that they were able to share this time together and make memories to last a lifetime.
Five days after K left, I was so excited to pick her up tonight that we showed up thirty minutes early. It wasn't long before the big white fancy buses began showing up (there were 6 of them!).
After a week of tumult and heartache in my life, missing my girl and hoping she had the BEST time, K is back home giving me the best hug ever. And she brought me a gift!
Faith. Hope. Love.
My girl knows me, huh?
I'm sure we haven't even heard a fraction of the fun times that K had this week. She shared her journal with me and the first page had a message to God about how much she loves him. She said that she cried during almost every worship service. When I asked why, she shrugged and said it touched her. She said the counselors were so nice and prayed with her every time. So to the counselors from Beltway at Camp Bonita, thank you, thank you, thank you for loving my girl.
When I asked her what her absolute favorite part of camp was, she said "The Leap of Faith".