Little by little…

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!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kat0427

    I’m so glad to hear that she had a positive experience, JM! She looks so grown-up in this picture.

  • So glad it went well!

  • Mary Alice

    This is so great, I really do think it is hard, but good for all of us, to do these things. It is great that she had fun, but even if it had not been positive, I think that also can build resilience — I lay there scared and homesick in my tent and in the morning I was fine and got to go home is a good life lesson, too. I have a lot of really raw emotion about my kids, and it is dangerous, for me and for them, because my instinct is to protect them from all hurt, physical and emotional, and that not only limits them, it keeps them from learning that they are strong enough to suffer and get back up again.

  • AWOL_Mommy

    _The Shack_ ha!
    Well done, Mom. Did she beg to pack only leotards or anything insane? Because that is how packing negotiations go with my eight year old.

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    So happy it was a great experience and she will have great memories!