My hopes were dashed last summer, though, when I was looking at camp for the first time. Not only was I too freaked out to send her because of her peanut allergy, but the camps in our area were simply not like the camp I worked at in the past. They could not compare to my camp and my camp was just not going to happen between her food allergy, her age at the time, and our location.
So this year, with OIT under our belt, a whole year no less, I signed her up for camp. My camp. And I could not have been more excited!
I was especially excited for Madeline to go to camp because as her days to go drew near, I received a call from an old friend. A special alumni week was being planned and I was invited to go with her. They had me at ‘Hello!’
|Ready to head up.|
I chose to stay just a few nights with a few other alum that I hadn't seen in way too long – and let Madeline have the nights in between all to herself. I wanted her to have the true camp experience without me – to bond, to take risks, to challenge herself without me in the way. And boy did she ever.
It was exciting to get reports about her and unbelievable to see her push herself in the way only camp can make happen. While I was not there, a friend sent me texts, pics, and video, but the smile on Maddy’s face told me much more. She had an opportunity to do two very cool obstacles – a high adventure ropes course and a climbing wall that were her absolute favorites. Each are at least 30 feet up, require children to be harnessed, and have special, specific safety rules for climbing. Each necessitate kids to utilize high energy, high patience, and to take some safe risks that may seem very scary, especially to eight-year-olds. Madeline challenged herself on each of these obstacles – she was excited to try them and when she came to a difficult part, the steps she took to continue on, were impressive. With each, she never quit – she made each of her goals – to the top of the climbing wall and through each of her obstacles on the ropes course that she had wanted.
|On the 'Stairway to Heaven' obstacle.|
“Maddy did awesome! She made it all the way to the top of the wall. It was so cool to watch her. Like a metaphor for her life, ya know – at her age all these obstacles she’s had and here she is moving right to the top, ya know?” Lisa said this to me and I was nearly moved to tears, not because I missed watching her do it but because really I had been there with her every step of the way through those obstacles, and this was a person that I had just reconnected with, had only seen our lives through FB and my retelling it recently, not lived it with us. And our lives had been tough lately.
Lisa was absolute right. Later in the week, I had an opportunity to watch Maddy on the wall and the ropes when her cabin headed up on each again. I watched her maneuver and manipulate when one path didn’t work on the climbing wall and when she got stuck on a new and very difficult obstacle on the ropes course, my girl did not give up, even though it almost brought her to tears.
My daughter is amazing. She is a little fighter, yet compassionate and strong . She is a survivor. Camp is a great place for her to realize the potential she has inside herself and I am so glad it will be there for her like it always has been for me. She’s been singing camp songs ever since she came home, so get ready Camp Algonquin, she’ll be back!