When I was younger, I went to summer camp once as a camper. I was 12. I think. If I remember correctly. It was a 4-H camp. I remember making so many friends and having so much fun. I also remember being incredibly nervous, excited, homesick and wondering what in the world I was even doing there.
In the years that followed, I was a camp counselor for the West Sacramento Kiwanis camp. A week away. A week with 9 - 11 year old campers who were experiencing a lot of what I was feeling once upon a time. It was so much fun. It was also hot, dirty, memorable and a special opportunity.
For as long as I can remember, my grandma has helped run Kiwanis camp. It's just one of those things that she's done. 50 kids go. Half boys and half girls. Teens are counselors and adults are staff. They are broken down into groups of 5. They hike, camp, fish, explore, learn important skills, sing silly campfire songs and make life long friends.
This year, Kaitlyn asked to go to camp. Kiwanis camp. For an entire week, a 2 hour drive away. Holy moly. That's a long time. And with limited cell service with my grandma, and kids not allowed to bring electronics, it feels like forever since we've talked to her. Instead, it was Sunday afternoon. About an hour after she left, I told Dusty that I wish I would have told her no.
For all of her attitude, dramatics and inability to listen, she's also hysterically funny, insanely helpful and one of my most favorite people.
On Sunday, Kaitlyn took her own (huge) duffel bag to the bus and helped her daddy load it on. She found a friend to sit with after they loaded up, and she waved good-bye as her 2 year old sister cried hysterically for several minutes. I worry that she's not having fun, that she misses us too much, that she's not making friends, that there are too many mosquitoes, that she isn't eating or brushing her teeth. I worry that she is just absolutely miserable and wishes we would just come and rescue her.
But, this is Kaitlyn. She misses us at night I'm sure. But, just for a little bit before falling asleep. Kaitlyn is making friends and making memories. And on Wednesday we will sneak away for a couple hours and surprise her. And it will be hard for me not to snatch her away and force her to come home with us.