For two weeks the House of Hatton has been a kid-free zone. No noise. No fighting. No spend the nights, play dates or baseball games. No carpooling. No mid-week grocery store runs for more OJ. No nightly running of the dishwasher. No mountains of laundry (though three trunks-full of stinky clothes and molding wet towels will soon form Mt. Everest in my laundry room). But why worry about tomorrow’s problem, today?
So can I just say, other than still having to vacuum up dog hair it’s been heavenly!
Am I ready to see my kids?
YES! But camp is as good for them as it is for us. While they were away at play, we had time to reconnect…
Take a little side vacation after attending our denomination’s General Assembly, where we were encouraged by other pastors and pastors’ wives. Eat out…which we enjoyed to the fullest!
Watch a couple movies. Spend time in the company of friends. Read by the pool. Relax. Be on our own schedule. (I know they will be shocked to hear we weren’t just twiddling our thumbs in boredom without their presence!)
And while we lived life as temporary empty-nesters, judging by the on-line camp photos I know they were having just as much fun.
I am also sure they have grown.
It happens every year … not that they grow physically, though that’s possible, too. But when the gates fly open this afternoon and we are reunited again, I will think to myself (as I do each year) they look different, older maybe. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s changed. Consistently though (this is our sixth year to have a camper), what I’ve come to see is a maturing in their spirit; in who they are.
While their camp is Christian-based, the maturing that takes place at camp is not strictly spiritual. I have seen that- the greater desire for a relationship with Him and to be in God’s Word. And a renewed awareness of loving others ahead of themselves. These things I am thankful for.
I have also seen though how they’ve managed with out mom micro-managing or nagging them about anything. (Even if that means they washed their bodies with shampoo!)
I have seen how they’ve navigated their schedule and made their own decisions (like my one child choosing not to write any letters!).
I have see how they’ve handled responsibility, from leadership opportunities within their tribe and cabins, to keeping track of their things and contributing to cabin clean-up (what they can do at camp, they can do at home, right?!).
Most of all I have seen how how they’ve learned to make friends despite maybe not knowing anyone in their cabin to start. They have been put in situations where they must initiate conversation and overcome insecurities. It’s not easy to feel alone, but God in his goodness draws near and helps them move outside of their comfort zone.
These are just some of the molding and shaping of camp that helps prepare them for other life situations. These things I am thankful for.
I guess I should add for us, as parents, being molded as we must trust Him with our kids when they are outside of our control. And in these little two-week increments being reminded to prioritize our marriage as we taste what life will be like someday when it’s just the two of us again.
All this goodness I am thankful for… but, oh how I am ready to hug their necks…and have some noise around here again!
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