science camp, a dodge ball epiphany, and the great outdoors
The week before last, Lucy and I, along with the rest of the sixth grade, got to go to science camp.
And this little clip pretty much sums up our experience up in those gorgeous mountains:
Ok, and this:
And this too:
Oh man, there is SO much beauty in our world!
Lucy was counting down the days with sparkling eyes, and I was excited about the prospect of spending some good time with that girl of mine.
But I’ll be honest, I was a little worried about the situation. Sometimes it just hurts to watch the gap widen between what she and other kids can handle, and to find the balance between how much to push her with her sometimes limited abilities and how much to just let her be. Sometimes I just wish she didn’t have to brave the road she’s on. We’ve had some good heart-to-hearts lately and when we get under the layers of emotion sometimes it just makes my heart ache for her…and for us. She can feel that gap widening and she is trying so hard to be the “same.” But she’s not the same. And sometimes I wish I could help her AND me realize that that is ok!
Often I try to be like the young mom I met in a movie theater a while back who has read this blog and introduced herself to me. She told me about how she has two children with special needs and gushed about how incredibly lucky she feels to have them. I feel the same about Lucy in so many ways. We have learned and grown in leaps and bounds, together as a family and separate. I am the luckiest mother in the whole wide world to get to learn from that darling girl every day. But there are for sure times when I feel a little sorry for us all, and I reach for the memory of that “movie theater mom” to remind me that it’s all ok.
I had a little nervous ball of worry in my chest as we made our way up to camp, me driving with a couple other chaperones, her safely loaded in the bus with a new awesome friend, and clusters of other sweetie friends surrounding her.
We arrived, ate and unpacked, and then headed to play dodge ball.
And as I watched that girl of mine jump into action, excited and ready to play that game, my whole soul filled with such love for her and “us” and the situation we find ourselves in quite often. And it wasn’t because I was thinking of the “movie theater mom” or because I was trying to pump myself up, bracing for the weekend…it was because I was so dang proud of that girl of mine, standing there in “ready position” with her jacket she insisted she needed to whip out quick since there were a couple drops of rain.
See her above there in the middle above?
There she was, a sixth-grader with diminishing vision, smack-dab in the middle of puberty and kids who can see and have excellent coordination and she didn’t care. She just knew that all she had to do was her best and that that was enough. I just became so overcome with her grit and determination.
I really am the luckiest.
There were ups and downs those three days, that’s for sure.
We were all surviving on minuscule amounts of sleep and varying schedules in a new environment. Lucy had a couple melt-downs here and there because of all that…and it was hot. But for the most part she soaked that adventure in.
There was something so beautiful about learning out in all that beauty 🙂
We were outside constantly, at one with nature.
Just where I think kids learn best (not behind some screen in a classroom with no windows).
(Those kids were trying to play dodgeball pretending they had no joints up in the above picture.)
We dissected owl pellets:
…and learned a ton about the rodent bones we found embedded there.
We had a scavenger hunt where the teams had to find everything in the great outdoors…from a feather to getting a bark rubbing to “something a bird might eat.”
And there was just something that spoke to me as I watched all those kids scamper around exploring and glorying in their findings.
Some fellow chaperone friends:
They told pretty funny stories around the campfire:
…and completed the evening with s’mores.
This is where we ate:
We did some “geocaching” as well as finding a “treasure” with the map of the camp:
We learned about gases and water temperatures mixed together and created our own little bottle rockets:
We learned all about space (this is a report on Mercury and Venus:
(Gotta love Lucy’s outfit of choice…no talking her out of that one!)
We did teamwork exercises:
This was our cabin:
Funny faces included:
(Including the ones photobombing from the window.)
We were there two nights…both just as crazy as each other…these girls were wired I tell you!
(That was just one of the four rooms in our “cabin.”)
See those teachers mixed in there above? They rock.
That last night, as the activity of those hyped up girls swirled all around us (there were four other “cabin moms” in this larger cabin a bunch of us girls stayed in), the teachers came in and hung out with us, criss-cross-applesauce in a circle laughing at the funny things that had happened those last couple days (the “gator prank,” the pizza debacle, the drama and the glory of it all).
I sat there and looked around the circle at those ladies who make Lucy’s school world whole and just got so filled with love, admiration and gratitude for each of them. Since the kids in our 6th grade move from class to class, they all have a part to play in her school success. We had a recent experience (a little emergency meeting to try to get Lu to use more of the special tools her vision teacher works so hard to get for her), that made me more endeared to them than ever.
And another experience at camp where her homeroom teacher really swooped in and saved the day.
Oh boy this is one lucky girl.
And I’m pretty lucky to be her mother.
We live in a beautiful world, with some pretty beautiful people who shine from the inside out.