One of my favorite things about childhood summers was my weeks at camp. I had some of the most carefree days and made some of the best friends of my entire life amidst the mountain backdrop and fresh air of Camp Hollymont in Black Mountain, NC. Camp was an adventure, a place where I tried new things and learned new strengths. It was a gift my parents gave to me, one that I was excited to give my son when he was old enough. Last year was his first year as a little camper. It was the longest week of my life. The morning we went to pick him up was, of course, the morning I also received the first letter from him telling my husband and me that he was having the best week ever.
This summer has looked a bit different, obviously, and one of the blows to his little world was that camp was cancelled. But, with a few very savvy social distancing measures and a lot of masks, his two-week session was replaced by perhaps the greatest invention of all time: Family Camp!!
The only thing better than unpacking your son in his cabin, seeing him smile hesitantly at kids that might still be his friends when he’s 30, and leaving, is doing those same things but then actually getting to stay. For four nights and five days, we ate camp food and sang camp songs and laughed at camp skits. We sailed and swam and strolled home under a sky full of stars so bright it seemed fake.
There is no doubt that Coronavirus has proved to be challenging and hard, sad and trying. It has taken lives and put others in the lurch, put careers and relationships on hold. But, in the midst of the chaos, there have been gifts. Friends & Fiction is, without a doubt, one of the greatest. Family camp is up there, too.
A couple weeks ago, I turned 35. Yes, 35, not 29 as we joked on the show. In light of the milestone, I decided to challenge myself to do 35 things that I had never done before. As you might be able to tell from the video, I can check number one off the list...
I feel pretty certain that all of us will remember 2020. We will remember the fear, the isolation, the inconvenience and, for many of us, the sorrow. But we will also remember this specific moment in time, this year that our children were this particular age. We will remember coming together with our communities, the way we found connection in a new way. And me? I’ll remember camp. I’ll remember the smiles on the faces of my son and his friends, the Fudgsicle drips on their sunshirts. And I’ll remember that sky full of stars, as endless and eternal as those carefree summer days once seemed.