On Sunday, we dropped off my daughter at LLYC (Laity Lodge Youth Camp) for her fifth year at Singing Hills. That’s a special place to me. I met my husband there when we both worked as counselors. And, as my dad reminded me this weekend, I first went there as a camper just three months after Mom was diagnosed with cancer.
I was 10.
Although I returned for the next four years, that first year was hard, socially. At the time I thought I was just a loser. Now I realize I was still reeling.
I did, however, make one friend, and isn’t that all it takes? She was in the bunk below me. Her name was Jennifer, she was from San Angelo, and she introduced me to “Anne of Green Gables.”
Guess what? My daughter’s name is Jennifer (although we don’t call her that). I just realized that similarity.
She adores the same things about camp that I did, namely swimming in the Frio river and participating in Round-Up, the nightly church-ish service of singing, skits, and a brief sermon.
I wonder if she will talk about my mom’s passing during Cabin Time. I never talked much about that stuff until I was at the older camp, after Mom’s cancer returned.
I do know that my daughter packed a stainless steel water bottle, a gift from Dad. It has a picture of a dragonfly. At Mom’s funeral, she spoke to an audience of over 700 people and read from a children’s book called “Waterbugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children.” Anyone who wasn’t crying before she started speaking promptly started to cry after she finished.
Mom never sent care packages of sugary snacks to either me or to my daughter. In recent years, with the advent of internet-based shopping, she would send a T-shirt or a pillowcase … or a water bottle.
This year, my daughter got Mom’s care package a little early.
Have a great time at The Hills, sweetheart.