This afternoon I put my daughter on a plane to sleep away camp. It was the first time she has flown by herself. Two months ago when we made the plane reservations, it sounded like a cost-effective way to get her there. She would read a book and two hours later be there. She was fine with it.
Sensing a bit of anxiety in her this morning, we intentionally laughed our way through the airport. After pizza and ice cream, they called her to pre-board. They told me to say my goodbyes because I was not allowed on the boardwalk. In an instant my heart sank. It felt as if they were taking her through the double doors into surgery. I did the worst thing a parent could do in that situation. My eyes filled with tears, drawing instant insecurity across her face. I watched as they shuffled her down the boardwalk until she turned the corner. I could no longer see her long blond hair.
I uncharacteristically freaked. They had not begun boarding the rest of the plane when I asked, “May I please meet the flight attendant assigned to her?”
“No ma’am. He is not allowed to get off the plane.” I explained I would just like to lock eyes with the person I have entrusted my daughter to, a gesture I hoped would evoke an element of accountability for my 11-year-old. The ticket clerks launched into a lengthy protocol of airline policy regarding unaccompanied minors. As they insisted the man who signed off to watch this child had 20 years of experience, my tears resurfaced as I meekly said, “But this isn’t just SOME child…this is MY child.” They froze as I peered out the window towards the plane which eventually departed.
“She’s not just a child! She is MY child.” There it is. My love for Lily demanded more than just standard protocol for her life. I wanted a higher standard over her…to protect her, comfort her, and keep her from harm. Isn’t that how God feels about us? We’re not just another person. We are HIS children. He wants more for us. He wants to protect us, comfort us, and keep us from harm.
Then I remember our conversation after finding a great parking spot by the airport elevator. In my delight I said, “Yay! God’s hand is all over us today”. She replied, “Totally Mom. He’s massaging us with His goodness.” With that I remembered, she was going to be just fine.
10 crazy things to send your child at SLEEP AWAY CAMP
- A LETTER FROM YOUR PET-The big worry in sending a letter to camp is not wanting to make them miss home. Last year our letters were all sent from our hamster, Pumpkin Muffin. We gave my daughter an update but it was from his perspective. She loved it and read the letters to the girls in her barn. This year her bunny is writing them.
- A BOX FILLED WITH WIGS - Camps usually have several costume parties and everybody loves a ridiculous wig or pair of crazy glasses.
- NIGHTTIME FUN KIT- Glow in the dark body paint, bracelets, and shoe laces
- QUIET TIME KIT - deck of cards. a book with a book light, friendship bracelet kit
- PRE WRAP!!!- my favorite We make headbands, bracelets, and all sorts of fun creations with this gauzey, lightweight material.Our camp doesn’t allow duck tape for obvious reasons, but pre wrap is fabulous!
- STATIONARY -pre-addressed and stamped envelopes with colored pencils and stickers…but do something funny on the paper. Start the letter for them in a humorous way like, “Dear Mom and Dad, I haven’t brushed my teeth or taken a shower since I got here” or something your child would find funny.
- COLORED ZINC - Worry about them not wearing sunscreen? Throw in some colored zinc and they are sure to decorate their faces in all sorts of ridiculous fashion.
- TEMPORARY TATTOOS - great to share with lots of kids too. Can’t you imagine a cabin of boys and a “Shark Attack” with these?
- DUCK DYNASTY - This may just be our family, but the Duck Dynasty tv show is BIG. Sending a fun hat, just might increase the chances of them actually wearing one
- SOUVENIR TO DECORATE- a pillow case or plain white t-shirt with fabric markers so everybody can sign. You could even send a t-shirt for each child in the cabin.
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