We arrived home from Family Camp about 25 hours ago. E was such an incredibly good boy all day yesterday (in spite of having decided he’s definitely two years old all of a sudden – also in spite of pouring rain, being stuck in the backpack while Mommy swept floors, not being able to go in the sandbox, etc.), and stayed awake far past his bedtime in the car, being adorable.
It was great to be at NeeKauNis. It always is – it just does my heart good. Of course, this time my heart needed it more than usual. Among those things (and there are lots more, but it’s bedtime soon):
- the sound of cicadas overwhelming the distant highway noise;
- the smell of wild grasses, the lake, the trees;
- enjoying Family Camp food I didn’t help cook (for the first time in almost 20 years);
- the beauty of Talent Night, particularly the children who express their awesomeness through dance;
- witnessing the various interactions of 21 children aged nine months to twelve years;
- especially, witnessing two young boys (ages 8 and 10) fall in love with my little boy and be absolutely wonderful with him, giving hugs and kisses and tickles, playing chase with him, encouraging him to eat his vegetables, taking walks with him, etc.;
- also especially, witnessing E gradually forging a relationship with another little boy just the same size but opposite colouring – picture two little hands clasped together for silent grace at the supper table, both boys serious and quiet, and so cute you can hardly stand it;
- catching up with good friends I only see at Family Camp – even though it’s hard to finish a conversation when small children are involved;
- seeing good parenting going on all around me – and learning a lot too (did you know that two-year-olds are evolutionarily supposed to refuse to try new foods? because they’re suddenly exploring independently and it’s important for them to be suspicious and not want to put unrecognized things in their mouths – this bit of info made me feel much better about E’s upwardly spiralling “No, no, no, no, no!” when presented with anything interesting to eat);
- watching (and participating a little bit in) the construction of a brand-new play structure, built in memory of a dear friend we lost last November;
- watching my hubby use his managerial wizardry as the “maestro” of the project, to make sure it all went smoothly;
- seeing how much all this work, done with love by campers, meant to our friend’s mother;
- seeing – and receiving, and giving – so much love… hugs, shoulder rubs, shoulders to cry on, caring gestures, sincere words… always present at Camp, but this year I feel it all more.
This last point needs another note. Sean and I have been overwhelmed, in the best way possible, by the love that has flooded in since Sebastian’s death, from all corners of our lives, from the moment we shared the news. There is a lot more to be said about this, but for now let me say that we are tremendously grateful. A thousand thanks for your words, thoughts, prayers, tears… and, of course, for reading.