Saturday, August 13, 2011

Home from Camp!

She's home. Picked her up on Friday and it was wonderful to see her sweet, punch-stained, grimy face along with her too-knotted-for-words hair. She looked tan and excited and well, like an improved Grace.

I have no words for how it changes her, diabetes camp. She sits among friends when I greet her. She falls back into place among them. And they are all like her, caring for, struggling with, living with diabetes.

It does a heart good to see your child among people who truly understand her.

We walked the same path as last year. I know why it gets to me, this walk up the path with 100+ other parents, when the camp director walks down to where the parents are gathered and announces "it's time to go hug your kids." All these parents, in the same damn boat as me, all feeling the same thing, all having taken a weeklong break from diabetes - but knowing their kids did not, of  walking and coming to retrieve them, to bring them home and start the 24/7 care again.

We all do it. We all walk the path to get our kids. And we don't talk as we do, it's almost reverent.
All the parents just walk up the path. I have tears in my eyes as I do it each year.

This year was different, she was waiting in the dining hall with all the other campers. There was going to be an assembly and singing, then check-out. It was wonderful. The campers were joyous, hugging, singing and being silly, and responded en masse to songs and requests. They knew the inside joke. All ages - from the little littles of 8 to the biggest bigs of 13, counselors, CITs, directors, doctors, nutritionists.

And ok, I cried when they sang the song 'Waltzing with Bears.' You would have too! They were all hugging and swaying together, even the boys. And the sense of camaraderie, the sense of belonging, the sense of surviving-the-whole-week at camp together and living to tell the tale... it was palpable in the air I tell you. It gave me goosebumps and tears. I taped a little for you, to give you the same.

Grace tells me about yoga, the zipline, creek stomping, swimming, arts and crafts, campfires and s'mores and sing-a-longs. She tells tales of her new friends and bunking together in the cabin. She happens to mention 'Oh yeah Mom, I did my whole Pod site change myself on Tuesday!' and we high-five as if this is just a blip on the screen of growing up with diabetes. She tells me she helped another girl with being homesick and had a low one night after swimming and oh yes, did she tell me about boating and fishing for teeny-tiny fish in the lake?

You see, the diabetes just rolls on in there. It's just a part of everything else. But it's not the only thing all week at camp. And for that, I thank my blessings, that the experience of camp is not lost in the diabetes. That she remembers what it is to be a kid at camp and have diabetes along with her. I am grateful beyond measure for it, this gift of knowing my gal has this, this sense of herself, that she is one among many, that when it comes down to it, she stands among people in her community who understand her, in a way her family just cannot.

It lightens her, this week.
Some of the burden of being 'the only one' turns into being 'one among many.'

Grace's cabin mates, all Type 1, even the counselors


LaLa said...

Ok - I'm totally crying! I'm s happy that it is so wonderful for her.

My thoughts go straight to this ---
There needs to be a D Mama camp! For reals! Can you imagine the camaraderie there and how wonderful it would be???

Denise aka Mom of Bean said...

Chills! It's such a wonderful they truly seem lighter because everyone around them is bearing the same load. Awesome!

TOTALLY, COMPLETELY agree that there needs to be D-mama camp!! Oh, that would be beyond fabulous!

Jen said...

I have tears in my eyes too! I can't wait until Addison is old enough to go to D camp..So glad Grace had such a wonderful time.

k2 said...

And you and Grace, OF COURSE!!!

Unknown said...

Blubbering like a baby! You had me at the description of the walk up to get your girl...

I am so glad that she had a great time and WOW on the Pod change!!! Fist bump to Grace from me on that. That is huge.

Hallie Addington said...

I am a mess! Totally crying! I know my girl needs this. I'm just glad we have a few more years until she's old enough.

SO GLAD she had an incredible time! SO GLAD to hear of the "Sameness" she had. And so incredibly GLAD to hear how it helps her!

Alexis Nicole said...

Omg where's the tissues!? What an amazing thing for her to have. I hope one day J will be ready and so will I.

Laura! A dmama camp?! Let's go!!

Love you Penny!

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

lol I'm smiling and everyone else is crying!

Pure awesomeness!

Colleen said...

I'm so glad she had a great time!!!!! I keep hearing wonderful things about that check out assembly from other staff members. I'm glad the parents enjoyed it too! And your Waltzing with Bears video is very sweet. That's definitely a Camp Setebaid tradition.

Thank you for writing this post! It's so very rewarding to all of us at Setebaid Services to know that all of our work really does make a positive difference to both kids and parents!

<3 Colleen - Camp Director HDYC

shannon said...

yes yes yes! awesome awesome awesome!