Dropping off Lucy for her first low-vision summer camp wasn’t a cakewalk I tell you. We have been prepping for this for a long time. But you’re never quite ready to leave your child at a camp. Especially when it’s five weeks long, and you’re not sure how that girl will fare.

As Lucy’s vision continues to dwindle she finds it more and more difficult to cope with being “left behind.” Honestly, it’s pretty sweet to see how she celebrates these fellow teenagers who keep marching on into different things she can’t do. But she wants to do anything she can to somehow “keep up.” One of the things she is dying to do is get a job. And as you might imagine, getting a job when you can’t see very well is really tricky. So we are more grateful than I can ever say for the “Teen to Work” Summer camp she is doing right now.

Our hopes with this “Teen to Work” camp

As I mentioned, this whole thing has been a work in progress for over a year now. Oh how we have hoped and prayed our guts out for this opportunity. We feel like it will help her not only with finding a job, writing a resume, interview skills, etc. But we feel like it has the potential to help her with so much more:

  • Social opportunities. We are SO hoping she’ll meet some other kids she can relate to and confide in who also deal with vision loss.
  • Low-vision resources. There are classes for adaptive technology, orientation and mobility, etc.
  • Since she’s living there she is sure hoping there will be some experts who can teach her more day-to-day low-vision living skills. Things like tips and tricks for measuring and cutting and cooking and baking. She wants to learn tips on doing things like clipping her nails and figuring out how her hair looks when she can’t see. How does she differentiate between the different amounts of dollar bills? How do blind people know if their clothes match?

Well, as I type, Lucy has completed the first of her five weeks at this summer camp.

Lucy with thumbs up as we left her at summer camp.

And she is doing it with flying colors. (With some big emotions on the side.)

This has not been easy. From the moment we explained what this camp is to Lucy up until now, we have all been bundles of nerves. It’s like we’ve been on a roller coaster ride. But she’s doing it!

I know I’ll have so much more to report later, but for now let’s talk about the drop-off.

Getting ready for Summer Camp

After we returned from our little family time in California, Lu and I got to work getting her all packed up for camp. Dave was on the high adventure camp for the young men in our ward, so he missed out on the prep work, but got here for the drop-off!

Of course, sometimes you just need to start prepping for camp by making some pumpkin waffles for dinner:

Lucy making waffles for dinner

Ha! Lucy was completely delighted by this since I’m not a breakfast-for-dinner type of a girl. She obviously is!

She had the opportunity to hang out with a friend the night before she left. She doesn’t get to do this very much these days so she was walking on cloud nine about that. While she was gone she missed these three cutest visitors ever, who came go give her a “camp survival kit.”

Seriously, some people have the best ideas and the kindest hearts. You can see how excited Lu was about that sweet gesture there above.

That last night, we read our book together and snuggled for the last time for a while. Dave was home by then and joined us for prayers:

Don’t let these pictures fool you too much. Lucy looks so happy, and she was. But she was also really, really nervous. This is scary business.

She asked Dave for a father’s blessing in the morning before we loaded up the car. It was so, so good. I love their faces in this picture, so well showing their feelings:

Dave and Lucy together after a special prayer together.

We FacetTimed with all these sisters on the way to the college campus where the camp is held.

Best cheerleaders ever.

The Summer Camp drop-off

We signed in and headed to Lucy’s dorm room. So interesting and also heart-warming to be surrounded by so many others all using white canes as we maneuvered our way to unpack.

We helped get things situated. Lu was worried there wasn’t enough light so Dave ran to Walmart to grab a lamp. The furniture configuration just didn’t make sense to her so we rearranged her room a few times until it felt right. We showed her where everything was. Found that the microwave has Braille on it. Showed her the places to turn on and off lights. How to turn on the shower. Arranged everything where she could feel for it.

We were little mother-hens trying to make sure she was as comfortable as could be.

And then we had a little prayer huddle and left that girl.

Shawni and David with Lucy before they left her at camp.

For five weeks.

I know she can do this, and part of me celebrates for the opportunity.

But as we drove away, another part of me thought that maybe I was the one who can’t do it after all.

Since then, we have had some ups and downs. But the ups have far outweighed the downs. It has been so good for my mama heart to go from seeing her on FaceTime at first only in her bedroom all alone the first few days to gradually being out in the main living area of her dorm room. And by now, when we talk there are other people around. And she is laughing and talking with them while she talks to me.

Yes, that does a mama’s heart good.

Praying for that girl every day. Please join me if you have extra prayers to offer!

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  1. Bless you all! Prayers for opportunities for Lucy and her courage and discernment to know what to accept! What a summer this girl is having❤️. Also and not quite so important, can you please share your pumpkin waffle recipe? Thanks!

  2. Have the best adventure of your lifetime Lucy! You are amazing! Praying for you and your family! Sending hugs your way 🙂

  3. Such bravery and beauty from all sides. God Bless Lucy AND all the people who work and organize and attend the summer camp – God is really working through them. It sounds like a heaven-sent opportunity.

  4. The bravest girl!! And parents!! I have a daughter with debilitating social anxiety, I dropped her for trek where she had no idea who she would be assigned and then I couldn’t talk to her for days, I was so nervous too. Feeling all the feelings with her. BUT…a couple days later I realized that what she was experiencing was EXACTLY what she needed, even though it was hard. I personally needed that pep talk for me!! By her age I had already gone through SO MUCH HARD coming from divorce and lots of moves. I realized she has not had to experience as much difficulty and hard changes. I’m SO SO SO glad Lucy can find her challenge to do this amongst people in her same life circle and challenges. I will pray for her success..

  5. I just can’t help myself. Please replace that copy of Prince Caspian. It’s done. It is okay to replace it.

    1. What do you mean? I’m not a fan of the attitude of replacing everything that is a little beat up. You can tell the book has been well loved and read. Books should look exactly like that!

      1. I’m a children’s librarian and similar age to the mom. The last time that paperback cost under $2 we were in 6th grade? I recognize the cover. It’s 30-40 years old. If you like the book that much buy another copy. Support the continued publishing of the book. Maybe they have it on a kindle too? Books can be replaced just like clothing, frying pans, cars..

    2. Ha! It’s funny because that’s the one book in the series we couldn’t find, so luckily we had our vintage copy on hand! It’s the one my dad read to us growing up. There’s nothing like a good, worn, sentimental book in my opinion, with all the pages turned down in the very best spots.

  6. She’s amazing!! I will pray for her & you! My cousin is going back to school to get her Masters in English, after having 7 children! Her youngest is 8 now, I believe. She was my roommate at BYU 25 years ago, and lost her vision completely while I was on a mission, but was legally blind while we were at school together and I was her reader. Most incredible person!! She has vision beyond sight!! Miracle worker, that lady! I can sense that Lucy’s spiritual and other physical senses are SO high and deep, and compensate for this disability. She’s a mountain climber and mover! I love her amazing heart! She’s going places in this life and world!! Grateful for her example, courage, faith, and determination!! She will make a difference for others!!

    I have been wanting to get in contact with you to ask the doc you went to for her back surgery a few years back. I have scoliosis in my neck and want to get it looked at because I’ve had numbness and issues on my left side for the past few years, and I think it’s due to the worsening of my neck scoliosis. I live in the Phx area and am also looking for Primary care physician recommendations. This may seem weird!! But it takes a village! I’d love to hear, as I know the spine is fragile and I’m gathering info to try to get in to good, trusted, best docs and the medical system seems to be nuts right now… so hard to get in anywhere!! If you’d prefer to email me privately, instead of posting that’s fine too! If you might have time, I’d appreciate it!
    Thanks in advance!!

    1. Oh I love to hear that about your friend. Wish I could meet her some day!

      I will email you about the doctor.

  7. Way to go Lucy!
    I hope this camp helps you learn and grow in new ways!
    I can imagine how your heart strings are being stretched while she’s away 🩷

  8. Thank you so very much, everyone, for the prayers. I think prayers have so much power. Lu is braving it so beautifully!

    Thank you for rooting her on!

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