I mentioned last week that I am not much of a camper/ outdoors woman, but last week I camped. Well kind of. I went to Lily’s 5th grade “spring camp” at a rustic summer camp up north. 5th grade is an epic year at our kid’s school. Spiritual development is emphasized more than ever and they really push the kids to bond as they exit elementary school and head into middle school (#holdme).
The year begins with “Survival Camp”. Just the name alone should be a clue that it was my husband’s turn to chaperone. They are assigned areas in the woods and taught how to make their own shelters out of leaves and branches. Yes, even the parents. Food is all cooked over a campfire. There is no showering. Girls are at least allowed a bathroom, but still. That is not my jam.
Spring camp, while still rustic by my standards, is spent in cabins. Cabins that appear to have not been updated since 1983, but still. Cabin. Ours was apparently the nicest cabin of the all which makes me worry for the other cabins I mean, I slept in this #churchcampflashback I wish I would have taken a picture of the showers. So very sketchy. And I forgot shower shoes. So I just closed my eyes and prayed.
We spent our days hiking through swamps and bogs (and learning the difference between the two), doing team building obstacle courses, wading in the lake, and singing around a campfire. But somewhere in there I also discovered how much I love being outdoors.
I’m not planning on turning into a camper or a hiker anytime soon, but I soaked up every minute of camp and at night was sad for it to end. I ran through the woods playing capture the flag, tackled kids in the dirt playing tag (I might have a bit of a competitive problem), dug under logs for salamanders, and basically became a kid again. It was glorious. I miss playing for the sake of playing.
This is Lily, not me, but I got up there right after her because who doesn’t want to swing on a rope?
Although my almost 40 body rebelled a bit and I am paying for my crazy this week, I find myself longing to find ways to play again. Is there some sort of adult capture the flag league?
The absolute highlight of the week was time spent with Lily. She is reaching that age where I not only love her as her mom, but I genuinely like being around her as a friend. Obviously I know the difference between being my child’s friend and a parent, but I find at around 10 the game changes a bit. I am sure it will only change more as she grows older and she begins to pull away. But right now we are in this lovely sweet spot where she wants to be around me. She would even hold my hand at camp. She would snuggle up to me at the fire pulling away from her friends and becoming my little girl again.
The kids would go around the circle saying ways they saw God today and I would get a glimpse into the mind of a 5th grader. They were wise and silly and childlike all at once. Then we would all walk back in the dark hand in hand seeing only by the light of the moon and stars. It was a magical three days. One that I wanted to document. Not because you will necessarily find it interesting, but because I want to always remember it.
I am so thankful for our kid’s amazing school and that I am able to have the flexibility to go with them on experiences like this. And I am so thankful for time with Lily. We definitely need quality time together the most. This week was a gift and I find myself seeking her out in the days since just longing to spend time with her some more.
In three short days I will no longer have a 5th grader. I will have a middle schooler. I blinked. And time flew.