Sleepaway camp.

Sunday, we dropped Edie off at camp.  She fought the idea of 3 weeks away at camp at first.  Admittedly, I had my reservations too.  Although I tried not to let her know that.  I knew it would be good for her.  I knew it would be good for me.  It’s been a big subject of conversation around here.  Uncle Kevin told her that he got sent to camp when he was her age and he was terrified, and then, about 2 hours after his parents left, he realized it was the best thing they’d ever done for him.  She heard a few stories like that.  She seemed to warm up to the idea.  She at least stopped bursting into tears at the mention of camp.

We’ve heard about this camp as long as we’ve known Will Smiley.  He went there every summer starting about the time he had been Edie’s age.  And then he worked there for another 10 years or so after he was too old to be a camper anymore.  It was a formative experience in his life and he really wanted to share it with our girl.  I’ve said here before that Will & Mollie are the sort of friends you consider family, no matter how often you see them.  Not only did Will want to share camp with Edie, he helped make it happen.  And then, to help ease mama into not having her gal around for 3 weeks, insisted we come visit with them at Granny’s cabin at Smith Mountain Lake.

That’s the view from the dock.  We showed up and Will had the boat ready and waiting for us.  Breakfast, lunch and dinners were made without me having to do a thing.  We had a few lovely days of just doing nothing but playing.  It was divine.  Will kept us up to date on what Edie was doing at that very moment, since he knows the schedule there inside and out.  (Sixteen summers at camp will do that to you.)  Abigail talked about how she thinks Edie is so lucky to be old enough to go to camp and she cannot wait until she’s old enough to go with her in 2 years. 

A friend had asked if we could dog sit this week, so when we came home from the lake, we came home to a dear old, stubborn dog eager to see us.  I miss my girl, but I’m so very grateful to our friends who have all stepped up to help ease me over this transition.  I know she is having a great time – as we drove out of camp on Sunday, we saw her bopping down the hill with one of her cabin counselors, taking her allergy meds to the office, and I could tell, she was already settled in.  When we dropped her off and I made her bed, there as a little girl her age in the bottom bunk next to her, with that “We are going to be friends” look on her face as she looked at Edie.  You know that look.  She had a Harry Potter book under her bed, so I’m pretty sure they will be. 
I’ve been asked numerous times, what am I going to do while she’s away?  I have alot of uninterrupted time on my hands, time where I don’t have to worry about dropping what I’m doing to go pick her up or go take her to do this or that.  I intend to work on my business plan.  I want to do some serious house cleaning and purging, including the princess lair, while she’s away.  (She actually left me a list of helpful ‘cleaning options’.)  There is the chicken house project, a few sewing projects to wrap up, some canning to be done, and most importantly, lots of quality time with my husband….

I think I’ll be okay.  After all, it’s only three weeks.

A new pocket for purple moose.

When Edie was days old, our dear friend Anne presented her with a small stuffed purple moose that went on to become the toy that we couldn’t go anywhere without.  You know the kind.  She still sleeps with purple moose, although after getting lost in the covers of her big girl bed more than a few times, she’s tucked him into the pocket of a large pillow I made her, so she always knows where he is. 
When Edie was ready for a big girl bed, her Uncle Gil so kindly gave her one taking up space in his attic and included this lovely white coverlet.  It had belonged to one of his family members – Great Aunt maybe?  I can’t recall.  After many years of wear though, it started showing it’s age recently.  See?
It’s just given out in great big spots. 
Edie is off to Camp Lachlan on Sunday for the next three weeks.  She’s a bit nervous about this – three weeks away from home and she won’t know anyone.   Knowing she was going to want to bring purple moose along, I cut into the old coverlet yesterday and made a new travel pillow, with a pocket,  just for purple moose to go to camp.  I thought it would be a nice touch of home for her to have with her.
He is now ready for camp.  And she’s getting there.  Knowing she will have her most trusted companion in her beloved old coverlet has helped.  (I think shopping Monday for her toiletries, new trunk and picking up her new personalized stationary helped too.)
And I actually started AND finished a project in one afternoon.  Must have been the fact that the AC upstairs by the happy corner made that the most pleasant place in the house. Any excuse to stay up there…..

Writing Camp.

When I tell people Edie is going to writing camp, they often misunderstand me and think we’re sending her to horseback riding camp.  And they like to share stories of their camp days with me.  No, WRITING, as in the Charlottesville Writing Center.  As in, she’s writing stories. 
Edie is alot like me – she’d rather spend her summer curled up with a book than doing swim team  or anything that requires a good bit of physical activity.  Our neighbor runs the writing center and when I heard about camp, I thought it might be something Edie would really like.  Last summer was her first summer to go and she loved it.  We noticed a difference in both her reading and writing abilities after her attending, as did her teachers at school.  She requested to go again this summer and so last week she did just that.
There they are on the first day of camp.  It was held in one of the art galleries downtown.  There was a mystery theme this year – it involved a missing painting and the writing center supplied a few prompts for the kids, like a list of suspects complete with mug shots and rap sheets.  Each story had similar elements – like a letter to someone and a mention of an enchilada, but the talking cat and superhero piranha were definitely creations of their own.  The kids were detectives and their stories were solving the crime.

The last day of camp, parents are invited to a reading.  The kids were encouraged to come in detective costume, and after convincing Edie that she really didn’t want to wear my long camel hair coat on a Virginia in July 90+ degree day (not to mention it’s really too long for her), I managed to talk her into her Picasso dress – after all, she’s undercover investigating art theft, yes?  Because no, I was not running out to buy her a trench coat and she would definitely be more undercover as an art fan than she would in a trench coat anyway.

Last year’s reading ended up on one of the local TV stations and included an interview with Edie.  While she didn’t get that kind of glory this year, she still thoroughly enjoyed camp this year.  She definitely is engaged and inspired the entire week.  This past spring, she started making books for us – collections of her ideas, stories, poetry – self published, one of a kind treasures.  And she has her own blog.  That was something we felt we couldn’t say no to, because of the creativeness of it, but we did have our concerns about internet safety.  So, it’s one of those super top secret blogs, one you have to be invited to view, one you have to have a password to view and mama gets full approval of who gets to see it.  (Pretty much anyone she wants to share it with, as long as she has your email address to send you the invite.).  I never cease to be amazed at her creativity.   The next few weeks of her summer are designed to foster and encourage that – she’s doing a week of camp at the Cooking School and then a week of art camp. And then, she’s doing three weeks at Camp Lachlan, because sometimes we all have to leave our comfort zones.  It will make her a better writer, yes?