My just-turned-8 year old daughter survived her first Troop Tekakwitha overnight campout in the woods of Pennsylvania.
And I survived the experience of letting her go.
This past weekend, I confided in the Builders that I was uncomfortable with the camping trip. I went away to sleepover camp too young, and I spent about 20 too many nights camping with my family as a pre-teen… so childhood camping experiences left me with a bad aftertaste.
Also, while I love running outdoors and springtime as much as the next suburbanite, raw Mother Nature intimidates me. I couldn’t shake the fear of my daughter falling off a cliff, drowning in a lake, getting eaten by a bear, or being abducted by a forest-dwelling pervert (should never have read The Shack a month postpartum).
The Builders encouraged me to trust her Guardian Angel and the dear Christian mothers and daughters in her scout troop. And our wise MaryAlice reminded me that this is just one piece of the slow process of letting her go… without little steps, how could I ever say goodbye when it’s time for her to go further than the nearby state park?
She hiked, swam in a creek, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and sang campfire songs, prayed, and slept (for a grand total of 3 hours) with her dearest girlfriends in a sleeping bag and tent under the stars. She loved every minute of it. Her positive experience has replaced some of my own sour memories of camping. Isn’t it a gift to experience childhood over again alongside our children?
We made it! Little by little… and I’m glad to have my oldest little one back under this roof tonight!