The older I get the more I appreciate my village. I’m so grateful for parenting partners. Because try as I might, I cannot be everything for my children. I’m sure there’s some study somewhere that has measured the staggering goodness of having multiple examples to look up to. Kids need outside sources to help them grow and develop. To give them outside direction. To nurture and build them up.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Because I’m feeling such deep gratitude for the adult examples in the lives of my children. Ok, not only adults, kids too! My brother-and-sister-in-laws taught my kids to ski. Teachers have honed in on their needs. Friends have nurtured in a way I couldn’t. Church leaders have infused light into their hearts.

Last night Lucy had stars in her eyes giving me glowing reports about The Book Thief , a book I’ve been telling her she needs to read forever. She’s refused every time. But low and behold when her cousin mentioned how much he liked that book this summer she decided she was in, hook, line and sinker. Head-over-heels in love with that thing. And I love that!

The gratitude for those who help me raise my children seems to multiply each year. Maybe because the older I get the more I realize I’m so far from being an “island” as a parent. I am in desperate need of all the highways and bridges and dirt roads that connect my children to others they can learn from.

Which leads me back to the summer and my dear Lu.

Because if the Teen to Work camp wasn’t enough of other adults and kids being heroes to my girl, girls camp that followed close on the heels after that put me over the edge of gratitude.

Yep, Lucy came home from her big camp for a couple days, unpacked, repacked and headed to girls camp with church.

She was so excited about this that she decided it would be ok to miss the first day of the Eyre family reunion to be there since they overlapped.

That is a pretty big deal I tell you, because Lucy adores reuniting with her beloved cousins at Bear Lake like nobody’s business.

But I guess she knew being a day late wouldn’t make or break her summer. That girl thrives on things like girls’ camp:

  • Automatic friends around 24-7.
  • Independence from her parents:)
  • Learning new things.

I mean, what’s not to love in that?! It’s all in her love language.

We got her all snuggled up for a few days, then sent her off on those buses filled with kids and leaders who are golden.

We have a new church congregation. New girls. New leaders. Lots of changes.

And Lucy is not a fan of changes. So I was worried.

But I got a few texts a day in brimming over with pride and awe about that girl of mine. She was living up camp like a champ. One amazing thing is that apparently she had somehow decided that she was determined she would be doing the hike right along with everyone else.

I must explain that over the years as her eyesight has dwindled, it has become more and more difficult for Lucy to maneuver hiking paths. Not just the hard paths, but any hiking paths. She can’t see the shadows for even small rocks. She can’t judge where to put her feet next.

Not only is it difficult for Lucy, it is really tricky for those on either side of her helping. The “helper” job takes “all hands on deck” explaining where she should put her foot for each step.

So because hikes are always part of camp, I let the leaders know beforehand she would probably want to stay back.

But low and behold, she did it! The whole thing.

This is one of the texts I got:

Teary after reading that, then more teary when I was sent these photos:

Oh I just wanted to wrap my arms around all those helpers. AND that determined girl of mine who did the impossible with flying colors!

I don’t have pictures of another part of camp, but one woman drove all the way down from Utah to help put together a “Faith Walk” for all the girls in our stake. It was the highlight of camp for I think every single girl who went. Will she ever be able to grasp the scope of her love and sacrifices to be there? Literally changing the hearts of girls.

The power of love is pretty incredible.

THEN after camp there was the getting ready to start junior year business.

So much worry. A schedule change added worry.

But after I got home from the school with grateful tears in my eyes after talking to Lucy’s new counselor who got everything situated (with the help of a team of other teachers), it was interesting timing that this post from Brooke Romney popped up:

These words rang so true to me: “Parents just can’t be everything. Every teen needs extra people in their life that love them.”

Oh it is just so true.

Thank you teachers and friends and strangers and family for lifting my kids in so many ways. You may never know the depth of the power your love gives.

May we all seek to be the kind of person who can help rally the success of everyone’s kids, not just our own.

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  1. My eyes are full of tears, this story of Lucy hiking is such an inspiring story. I’ve never met Lucy in person, but I love her and she amazes me with her strength and determination! Go Lucy!

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