Saturday, August 14, 2010

Diabetes Camp - The Return of Grace

I picked Grace up from diabetes camp on Friday night. It was like no other experience I've had in the D community. We were allowed to come between 6-6:30 pm for pick up, no earlier. The sweet homemade sign at the camp gate stated that they were enjoying dinner and that the staff would like to savor the last few minutes they had with our campers. I welled up even reading the sign.

At 6 pm, they told all of us parents - there were close to 100+ of us - that we could walk up the path to camp. It slowly winds into the woods, over a little bridge and then you begin to see the cabins and hear the kids outside playing. I have to tell you, the walking with 100 other D-Moms and D-Dads was very emotional. We all were smiling and laughing and eager to see our kids. I started to cry while walking the path. I thought, this is it, this is it, this is what we do, we walk the path to get our kids. Whatever path you tell me to walk, I will walk it to see this girl of mine...

She spotted me before I spotted her. I hear 'MOM! MOM!' and every woman's head turned, thinking it was their child. I see her running, running, running toward me, hair flying, notebook and pen in hand and then into my arms. I am kneeling in gravel but I don't care. We both started sobbing at the sight of each other and holding each other tight. She takes a break and looks at me and starts petting either side of my cheek and saying 'Mom, Mom, Mom.' I tell her how I have missed her so, how I love her, love her, love her and did she have a great time and that we all missed her so very much at home.

'AWESOME' she tells me, yes, she had an awesome time and can she have the phone to talk with Dad? She starts to talk with Dad and cries a little more upon hearing his voice.

 I look her up and down - a little dirty here and there, but none the worse for wear. I do not know where her pump is, I have not done that transaction. The first time I'm not in the mix. I am not even aware that the pump is on her leg this time.

I know I am supposed to go to the dining hall to begin the check-out procedure and to gather her diabetes car box and sign papers, but I cannot wait and neither can she. I ask her 'Can we go to your cabin and see everyone?' and she runs, runs to the cabin, where all her counselors are standing, waiting to say goodbye. I hug each and every one of them and whisper in their ear as I do -  'Thank you for taking such good care of Grace' and the tears flow. I mean it with my very soul. Thank you for caring, for checking, for loving her, for treating the lows and helping the highs and for making her feel so loved while she was here. And now we are all in tears.

Grace's new friends trade addresses and phone numbers all around. They hug and hug and tell each other how they will miss each other terribly and how they will see each other next year.

"Are you coming back next year?"
'Yeah, are you?"
"Yeah, let's be in the same cabin!"
"I can't wait!"

And they are all Type 1. And the counselors are standing there, young teen girls, with their pumps on and I think 'This is exactly what I wanted for Grace. If I had a vision, this would be it."

And it was.

Next post: Interview with the D-camper herself


Unknown said...

Man, this post made me cry. I would be a wreck waiting to see her again too. I'm so glad it was a wonderful experience.

Jules said...

I have read this blinking away tears and with a big smile on my face at the same time. You expressed it so beautifully, Penny. I wish this for my little boy too. I hope you had a bit more sleep and send a big "Well done" to both Grace and you!

shannon said...

Yep, you made me tear up too! You've told your story so beautifully and I could relate to every bit of it. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Looks like she had a great time. Can't wait for the interview!

Unknown said...

WOW. I was welling up reading this. This is what I want for Joe next year, assuming it is what he wants. Sounds like a fantastic experience...I am still choked up thinking of you walking with all those other D-Moms and Dads.


Yvette said...

Oh yes I cried reading this. I am so happy that this was such a great experience. You must be so proud of Grace. Let's face it - you should be very proud of yourself also!!!!

Unknown said...

I can feel the familiar tug at my heart and tears threatening to amazing! AMAZING!!!!!!

Sugar hasn't been old enough yet...but our day is then Grace will be an old pro!

BEAUTIFUL post!!!!!!!!

k2 said...

I'm crying - which is really hard to do when you sinuses are completely clogged!
kelly k

LaLa said...

I am sobbing. You wrote this beautifully - I felt like I was there picking up Grace too. I am so beyond thrilled that she had such a good time!!!!!!!!!