Last Saturday we loaded up Big J in a church bus and sent him off on an adventure that is sure to be life changing. Just the day before we'd picked him up from his discipleship and service camp where he spent two weeks moving boulders up to the furthest part of the camp to build a water feature. The kids also cleared a large area of the camp of all fire hazard debris and yes they did have some fun as well! In the few hours we had to listen to his stories I gathered that his favorite memories were the day of silence they had, the pool/dance party when all the campers went home between sessions and the hour of solitude spent in the forest. Not things I ever remember doing at my own camp experiences but something that has made our boy happy and content.
So as I worked my momma laundry magic through the night, Big J went to catch a few hours of sleep before he had to be up and at it again bright and early the next morning for the 12+ hour drive to Camp Attitude. When dawn broke and the alarm jolted us from our few hours of sleep I began to feel a little weary and quite weepy. I crept in and sat on the edge of my sons bed and just watched him sleep. He's all grown up is what I kept thinking. I began to pray over him and asked God to give him the strength and guidance he'd need for the week ahead as well as begged for the journey north be a safe one. As I bent down to kiss his cheek I knew then that this week was going to be hard and a true test of my heart. A preparation for what is emanate...leaving the nest and flying away...college.
The few moments we had that morning were a mad dash of last minute details and getting out the door before the bus pulled away. As soon as we pulled in the parking lot our boy was out the door and surrounded by his friends, all giddy with pure excitement for what God is leading them on. They gathered in a circle (that's Big J on the far left towering over everyone) to pray and to prepare for experiencing a week that wasn't about them but about the needs of a child who may otherwise never do what our kids take for granted. And soon the bus and van were full with a few dozen kids and driving away. I'll admit I was the last mom to leave and I may have even shed a tear or two. It's been a long week and we've had no contact with Big J at all. Like I said this was a "not about you" week and the kids were asked to leave their cell phones at home. We were told when we see our children again they will have profound stories and will be forever changed. Thank you Lord for this incredible opportunity!
And today they comes home, well kinda for Big J. Camp Attitude is in Oregon and is a hop, skip and a jump from my parents so they are picking him up this afternoon and we will jump in our car and make the trek up north to bring him back home. Of course I'll get to hear his voice today at some point and hear the details of the last week and then tomorrow I'll be able to give him the biggest momma hug ever! It's been a long, long week for me and I'm ready to hit the road! I'm ready for a few days of time spent with our boy, days that I know are numbered. We will tour a few colleges together while we're there and enjoy time spent with family for the next week and I am so excited! Life is good and God is GREAT!
Take a few minutes and check out Camp Attitude....What an awesome place for children with special needs and their families. The camp I went to for 12 years was just for diabetics and I loved how special it was to me to know I'd be somewhere were everyone was just like me and I imagine that Camp Attitude gives their campers that same sense of peace along with experiences that make the long year between worth it. What a gift for all who attend!