Once upon a time, a preteen girl asked her friend to go to a summer camp with her. After much
begging convincing of the friend’s parents, both girls headed off to a week-long camp. They did obstacle courses, crafts, had bonfires, went swimming, did archery, had chapel and quiet times, noticed boys, made new friends, had cabin devotionals, gorged on candy, and had an absolute blast.
So much so, that the next year, the friend convinced her youth group leader that the youth group needed to attend all together the next summer. And off they went. Little did she know that her youth group leader was the cabin leader of another young teenage boy who eventually would become her husband. They all had the same amount of fun and good times. Special memories were made!
That friend was me, and the original camp-goer was my friend, Sarah. I’m much indebted to Sarah for introducing me to Camp Elim, some of my fondest youth memories are from that camp. And I’ve been looking forward to the year that we could send Devyn to camp. This is the first year that Devyn could go, and I mentioned it only once before Devyn was ready to pack her bags. And wouldn’t you know it, Sarah’s oldest daughter was going to go too. It made things infinitely easier to send Devyn away for six days.
I’m not really sure how it happened, but the somehow these two baby girls are old enough
to be without their mommas for a week. I’m not okay with this.
In the weeks leading up to her camp, we started making a list of things she had and things she’d need. I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done. The physician’s release, the odds and ends needed to pack, checking and double-checking lists. It was a little stressful…
I think one of the most hilarious moments was when Devyn saw the disposable camera I bought for her to use. “Awesome!” she said. “An old-fashioned camera!” Ah, what? Old-fashioned? I’m at a loss for words.
The night before we left, I snuck the journal I bought her out of the suitcase and wrote the longest letter for her to find while she was at camp. I may have shed a tear or two while writing it.
The next morning, Miss Paige was up at 4:00am. I kid you not. She was showered, dressed, and ready to leave by 7:00am. I think excited was the understatement of the year, and its no wonder she fell asleep on our way to camp. While Mom drove, I found myself getting more pensive the closer we got to camp. I can’t begin to explain the heart palpitations, the sweaty palms, how every bad scenario flashed through my mind. And since that was less than productive, I started to pray instead. And oh, how I prayed!
We found Sarah and Emma as soon as we got to camp and they were able to take us to the cabin the girls would be staying in for the week. (It turns out it was the same cabin her daddy stayed in about 20 years earlier.) Even more surreal was the list of campers on the door to their room… Devyn and Emma. Oh, how I pray this week has cemented a life-long friendship. I pray that they become to each other what her mother and I have had for 25 years. Life has come full circle!
Tomorrow we pick Devyn Paige up from camp. I’m sure she had an incredible time. I’m sure the taste of independence was good for her, and I pray that God revealed himself to her in numerous ways. I prayed that God would become real to her this week, not borrowing a faith from her parents, but something that becomes solely hers. I can’t wait to hear about all of the adventures they had this week.
But most importantly, I’m ready for her to be home again. She’s the missing piece to our puzzle, and its been weird without her. I’ve started the hourly countdown… 26 and a half hours and counting.