On Sunday afternoon I drove Liliana to camp. She’s been looking forward to going to camp since she’s known what camp is. Every year when we drive Kaylie to camp, Liliana asks, “When do I get to go to camp?” This year she finally got her chance.
As she and I were driving to there (a three- to four-hour round trip), I told her some things about how camp was going to go. About how she was going to sleep in a cabin, and how her cabinmates were going to be like her family. She was BLOWN AWAY. “I get to sleep in a cabin‽” And about the tuck shop and the swimming pool and the horses and all that. She was genuinely shocked about these things. Maybe we’re horrible parents because she knew absolutely nothing about what happens at camp? I don’t know.
She’s never spent the night away from us or Noah’s parents. Never in her seven years. I wasn’t worried about her, though. I do not think there is a more out-going person on the face of the earth. She was bouncing off the walls at registration. It was like she was a neglected puppy someone had just come home to. Walking into her cabin wasn’t much different. She also saw a friend from church, which she was stoked about. She threw her stuff on her bunk, gave me a quick hug, told me it wasn’t going to be the same without me, and said it was ok for me to go now. Alrightythen.
When I went back yesterday to pick her up, I saw parents coming from the cabins with their kids and their kids’ stuff. I deduced that I was to go to Liliana’s cabin to get her, rather than to meet her in the chapel for the parents’ show thing like I did when I picked Kaylie up. But nobody was in her cabin. I walked back to the chapel to find an in-tears Liliana with her cabin leader. She’d thought I was late and that I’d forgotten about her. Whoops! With Kaylie, the kids sat with their cabin and I didn’t see her till they dismissed everyone. Not the same this time around. Liliana was right upset with me. “MY CABIN LEADER SAID YOU’D KNOW TO COME HERE!”
She sat with me during the parents’ show thing. The speaker had talked about Joseph during their chapel times and asked the kids what they learned from his talks. One kid piped up, “Don’t kidnap!” I was shocked that it wasn’t my kid who said that.
As we got to the van, I asked her if she’d missed us or if she was good with being away. She said she was good, and that she’d almost forgotten about us. Noted. I expected her to fall asleep on the way home, and looked back to see her nodding off about 10 minutes into the drive. Moments later she was wiping tears from her eyes. I asked her what the matter was and for the next while she said variations of the following, while sobbing:
“And now I have to stop thinking about them (her cabin) and think about other things!”
“I’m going to forget about my cabin leaders! I don’t even have their photos in frames so I can remember what they look like! I don’t want to forget what their faces look like!”
“They’re all my family and I don’t want to forget about them and I’ll have to go through Christmas and all the other holidays without them!”
“There are no pools in Saskatoon like the camp pool!”
I then remembered about the keepsake video I’d bought that has photos and videos of her days at camp. I put it in for her and she watched it for the remainder of the drive. It seemed to calm her down a bit. Until we walked in the door at home.
“It’s quite obvious that I miss them more than I missed you guys!”
“I wish I was still at camp because I was having so much fun that I didn’t miss you guys! I didn’t think of you at all! I forgot about my family! Is that bad?”
“Maybe we should make our house more like camp because I’m used to camp!”
“I feel like I live in a barn and I’m just visiting here!”
We should really start teaching her about tact, and about being mindful of others’ feelings, but oh my word, we could not contain our laughter. But not in her sight, as that would have set her off even more.
She had calmed down by the time this morning rolled around. She didn’t want to unpack her suitcase until Noah told her that unpacking it was part of camp. “Oh! Ok!” I think we’ll use that for everything she’s asked to do.
She asked if next year camp was going to be only three days again. I informed her that when she’s eight, she can go for a whole week. She was pretty stoked about that, but said it would be better if it was all summer.
Needless to say, she’s counting down the days till the summer of 2015.
title: remember (to forget you) by weird kids