Horses and Ziplines and Ducks, Oh My!
My Indian Princess and I went to camp this week. Trail's End Ranch is a bible camp in the mountains of Montana that has a few other activities.
The camp is unique in that although it is designed for 3rd grade and up, younger campers can go as long as they bring their moms (or dads). This is a spectacular arrangement for a 6 year old who loves all the fun, but is too young to be without Mom overnight.
Her counselor kept her group busy from 9-12, and from 1-5. I got to eat every meal with her, then take her back to the cabin in the evening and have a slumber party with her and some friends. I have to tell you, the counselors up there are golden. Amazing young men and women who love the Lord and love the kids.
The camp is located on a working ranch, so along with the camp counselors and staff, we got to meet the ranch hands and their families. Once again. I love ranchers. They seem to have the important stuff figured out. They fix things that are broken instead of buying new. They teach their kids how to work and play hard. They respect the animals they work with but don't get too worked up over a dead frog.
As I was getting to know the people a little better, my Indian Princess was doing boring things like swimming, crafts, horse back riding, ziplining, big swinging, rock climbing, squirt gunning stuff. She had hour long meetings where she learned more about Christ. She was also learning how to make decisions on her own. Primarily, what snacks should she buy at the Snak Shak. First time she's gotten to do that without Mom's help. Let's just say the last day she was on a sugar high so long she was buzzing for a solid two hours.
I know she had a good time, because today I asked her if she was glad to be back at home. With Daddy and The Littlest Girl. She said, "Not really." And walked around bored all day. Asking me to go outside and take a walk with her. In the 100 degree heat. Which now feels normal.
Watching her at camp was definitely bittersweet. It is a good introduction for me on how school will go this fall when she's gone all day for the first time. I loved to watch her successfully navigate camp on her own. I gained confidence in letting her go, even for a little while. And I clung to her when she came back to me, hungry for a big hug and some time to hear about her experiences. But she didn't miss me as much as I missed her. And I think that is going to be the norm from now on. And I think I'm going to be a little more sad from now on as I watch her start the natural process of growing up.
All in all, camp was a great experience. And one she'll probably never have again, as I am going upstairs to lock her in her room for the next 20 years. Maybe by then, I'll be ready to let her go.