Sunday, July 13, 2008
Chase is home from camp.
This past weekend, I made the four-hour trip to retrieve him. It was supposed to have only taken two hours but I am directionally challenged and had a little trouble discerning north from south. By the time I realized my mistake I was already an hour into the trip, had to turn back around for another hour and begin the trip once again. North, South, East and West are words you will not find as part of my love language.
By the time I arrived, I was somewhat frazzled and desperate to see my little boy. All of the campers were gathered under an outdoor pavilion beneath what appeared to be a haze of brown smoke. Upon closer look, I realized that it wasn’t smoke, but a giant dust cloud that had accumulated as a result of poorly bathed campers. Do not misunderstand - showers were available - it’s just that most forgot to involve their bar of soap.
I found Chase, joyfully wrapped my arms around him, and burst into tears.
(For those of you who question the emotional stability of yours truly, and possibly wondered if I would display said emotions for all to see, know that I did not disappoint.)
I wasn’t prepared to see that my son was three inches taller, or that he had stubble on his beard. His voice was decibels deeper and he had outgrown all of his clothes. The exponential development that occurred in Chase over a six day period reminded me of the changes that take place when Bruce Banner transitions into the Incredible Hulk, bursting through his too small t-shirt with loaded biceps and six-pack abs.The only difference was that my son wasn’t as green. (His neglected teeth however were a different story.)
While I may be exaggerating a bit, he did look different. For instance, a week ago, his hair did not look like this:
And, caked dirt (otherwise known as “pigskin) did not cover the entire area beneath his knees:
Nonetheless, none of that mattered, as I was just happy to have my life-sized Linus back with me where he belonged.
All the way home, Chase excitedly told me how much he loved camp, recounting the adventures and mishaps he experienced with his friends Hunter, Thomas and Wilson. I listened as he sang all of the praise and worship songs learned, as well as the prototypical camp cadence that only a nine-year-old boy would enjoy:
I don’t know what I’ve been told
I stuck my finger up my nose
Pulled out something big and green
Thought it was a jelly bean.
So Chase survived, and I didn’t do so bad myself. (Except for the public release of the ugly cry). Yet another parental hurdle cleared, all the while knowing that there will be many more to jump as my children race to the inevitable finish line of their childhood.
I don’t care what I’ve been told
Letting go is getting old
Let them always live with me
Even when they’re fifty-three.