Zombiegirl survived another week at 4-H Camp. This time I’m VERY proud of her.
Last year she went to camp for the first time ever. Sleeping away from her family for a week. She went with her friend, The Almighty (her family calls her that so it’s okay if I do) and they had a great time. They rode horses, and took care of farm animals, ate, sang songs and made friends.
We were a wreck that whole week.
The camp is located almost exactly one mile by car, maybe a quarter-mile straight up the beach, from our beach house. The reason we sent first Kansas then Zombiegirl to this camp was because it was so close to the beach house. Last year we stayed out all week and walked the beach hoping to catch a glimpse of our precious baby, the one we sent away. Of course, she didn’t take swim that whole week. I got a deep, bronze tan, but couldn’t sleep at night thinking about the kid.
This year, 4-H should have let Zombiegirl camp for free. Not only did Almighty go back, but Z-girl also convinced three of her soccer friends to go. There was a fourth, but the mother see-sawed too much and lost out. We dropped them off last Monday with hugs, cameras, soccer balls and kisses.
MR and I stayed at the beach house that day. He found out they take their swimming competency test in the afternoon. He pinned down a time from one of the counselors, so off to the beach we went.
We waited. We saw a group of kids take the 189 stairs down the cliffs. We meandered a little closer (but not TOO close- we didn’t want to appear as if we were stalking) but no, these were boys. They finished up their tests and went back up. We waited. And waited. And watched the lifeguards pretend to rescue a flailing camper, practicing their lifesaving skills. They finished and we waited. And waited. Finally, a group of girls showed up. And in that group, three little figures waving furiously at us. Again, we moved a little closer, but really, they weren’t more than little one-inch stick figures with big heads and waving arms. We waved back. The lifeguards saw us waving, andthey waved back. Oops, busted.
As we turned around to leave, MR noticed our umbrella had blown down the beach. He ran after it while I slowly walked backwards watching the little stick figures splash and swim in the Sound. Finally, they were too small for me to see without binoculars, so I sadly made my way back to our chairs.
I got there at the same time MR did from retrieving the umbrella. I was sad, but he was grinning.
“I saw titties,” he said. I looked around but didn’t see anyone close by except for the woman walking into the water to cool off. And she had a two-piece on. Where? I asked. He tilted his chin toward the woman. She had been topless , but put her top on when MR ran by chasing the umbrella. Good for her, I said. She was far enough away from the families, nestled in a little depression in the softer sand. Totally shielded and not flaunting it. I was jealous. My “girls” saw daylight only once, and that was in the canoe about a half-mile off-shore. I long to be free and unencumbered and feel the sun on all parts of my body. Without prying eyes, of course.
The week went by quick without the kid. It was hot so we didn’t cook. I didn’t clean, I didn’t do much more than vegetate on the couch with Beena. Which was nice, since she’s almost never home at night, her working in retail almost every night.
We headed back out East on Thursday night since we still had flooring to finish from ripping up the porch floor the previous Saturday. Friday morning, I woke up with the 4-H camp’s reveille. We can hear the bugle calls to dinner and taps at night. One mile away? Yeah, that’s why we send our kid to this camp. I don’t know how we’d deal if she was miles away upstate or in another state altogether. I like having her know the area and feel safe that we’re only a few minutes away. I like being able to walk down the beach and spot our kid and her friends and be summoned over (after checking with the lifeguard) to be hugged. And hugged. And hugged again.
Thank goodness we’re not that far away. One of the soccer girls got homesick and decided she couldn’t stay any longer. She called her mom sobbing and mom ran out to pick her up. She lasted one day.
But even with the drama and the issues with this girl caused a tremendous amount of homesickness in Zombiegirl as well as a few of the other girls, Z-girl sucked it up, stayed and had a really good time. So did the other girls. They’re all ready planning what they’re going to do next year and how long they’re going to stay.
Note: I highly recommend Dorothy P. Flint 4H Camp in Riverhead, NY. Their counselors and their program are wonderful.