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Sunday, June 25, 2017

All According to Plan for 2017- Camp Drop Off Weekend's Lessons

Another special camp drop-off in the books in our lives on Newark-Granville Road.  I love what I am learning about my family within these annual events and our pilgrimage to West Virgina.  Camp drop off isn't just a quick trip to WVA and back.  Since this was my camp, it was also my parents camp.  Various family members ranging from Joe, my parents, my sister, my niece, my kids have accompanied me, often adding a stay somewhere fun.  Here are some take aways from this year....

First and foremost this year Clare's lessons for me.  Our 16 year old returned to Camp Alleghany today for her 5th year. It will be her final year as a camper and we're not sure the counselor path is hers. (She also didn't think she'd continue with orchestra but she is.)  The past two years water levels have impacted drop off.  Camp Alleghany did a phenomenal job with communication and care. Last year's horrific flooding did not impact our children's experiences, in fact Clare said it was the best term ever despite being cut short by a week and mud and dirt coated everything.   Also know that last year's drop off trip was to be extra special as Louisa, my niece, was attending mini-camp so Sarah and I created the plan to gather at The Greenbrier during the transition. I'd always wanted to have my parents and family dining and dancing together at this special resort.  Read the blog from last year at this time to get the scoop.  We found our plan and B and all went on to camp and travel well in July 2016.  However it impressed upon Clare as we looked forward to this year's special plans to preference it with "if all goes according to plan".... I would say to someone at the pool- "oh I can't wait to see my father at the Homestead".....Clare from across the table would add an "eh eh..if all goes according to plan Mom".  

I'm pleased to say all did go according to plan for 2017! With Louisa joining both girls as 1st Term Campers what fun it was to all be together for delivery today.  What a special treat it was to gather at The Homestead this year meeting my parents and my sister and family with my family.  Dreams come true- we danced, and explored, relaxed and took to the healing waters and mountain air to just be.  Clare did ask several times a day- did you hear from camp mom?  Any word from camp Mom?  Did you check email and your texts today Mom?  The answer was always no- the sun was shining, the river low. We all took the barge- Joe included- first time at drop-off- to share the joy of the first day.  Seeing our dear Clare happy and at home was something I shall not soon forget.

I also discovered about Louisa, my niece and goddaughter.  What a joy it was so see her in her tent and see the location across from Sally's. Watch her hold her mother's hand while longing to be with her big cousins and their friends.  Share two days of anticipation and excitement on her own and in mass with Clare and Sally.  This darling, fun, sweet, independence, devoted, entertaining child is ready for camp and we're all so proud of her.  Thank you Camp Alleghany for the fantastic care last year and preparation for this place for our girls.

Sally is our dear Sally.  Hearing her sigh as we approached the banks of camp and say so sincerely- camp is my home away from home was music to my ears.  She was indeed at home so quickly for being a third year camper. Of course this was my first time seeing her in-camp on move in day.  I've only seen her leaving, saying farewell. As I reflect it was the same but there is something about the transition between worlds. It was good for me to see her in such a happy place.

Camp is amazing and seeing it through the eyes of my chidren is pure joy.  This happiness is expanded as I experience with my niece and friends.  Such happy reunions for the girls and for us parents. The whole day was happy, positive, goodness- renewals and new meetings- but we all were connected through our campers and this place.

The Homestead was an extended version with happy homecomings- kids, families, weddings.   Being with my family is very important to me. I missed my brother and his family but we'll unite in three weeks for beach time. Another ritual of camp- pick up and unite and reconnect with family vacation.  I loved making bookends with two days of quality time in such a beautiful place.  I'll wrap up with one more lesson.  We determined again that Joe is the funniest in the family.  As we prepared to leave today, soaking in the sun on the porch, my husband appeared as a Sherpa.  Carrying bags, dresses on hangers, phone charger around his neck and declared, Bellhop, we don't need no bellhop.  I think it may be- HTBT- had to be there- but I want the image captured.

Peter we're learning a lot about Peter and having a 15 year old boy.  He's made some mistakes lately but oh how I adore him.  He resists and puts up with a lot being the only boy cousin on this side, only male grandchild for my parents.  He rolls with most things. He didn't want to dance, but he came around.  Lucky me- I danced with my son, my father and my husband this weekend. We sent Peter home with my parents and I'm so grateful they get this time. No doubt they'll be stories to share, stay tuned!

Life on Newark-Granville Road loves a good laugh and happy tears. The kids realized this about me a long time ago and often I get that look- they can just glance over and realize I'm tearing up with joy. They'll tilt their head or roll their eyes.  There were quite a few of these moments this weekend. I'm glad they know me and I hold closer the chance to get to know them all in new and renewed ways.  Here is the lesson I relearned- I'm so fortunate to have this beautiful family and we love being together and away from each other.

Bellhop, we don't need no stinkin bellhop!

Annual barge picture- Christophers with us!

Clare in happy place.
Sally and her counselor- home away from home

Louisa is ready!
Why the smiles- kids delivered to 3 weeks of camp!

Thanks for the dance Peter!
Sums up the weekend.

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