Monday, June 25, 2012

Camp Drop-Off (Or Leaving My Heart Behind)

Not our camp, but how cute is this poster?

Sunday was our big type 1 diabetes camp check in and drop off experience.

The night before we left for check in, Saturday, I could sense the anticipation ramping up with youngest daughter's barrage of questions.

"Do you think I will be able to get a top bunk bed?"

"What do we get to eat for dinner?"

"Will my friend Sarah be there from day camp?"

"How many times will we be able to go swimming?"

On the morning of our drive to camp, her intense questioning fell silent. For a few hours, she didn't speak a word except to say that she needed a snuggle from her big sister, whom was also riding in the back seat of the car.

Giving each other knowing smiles, my husband and I knew better than to react too sharply to any of it. After all, this wasn't our first time at the rodeo (IE. overnight camp).

The previous year, oldest daughter experienced a similar roller-coaster of feelings; from excitement to nervousness to impatience to sheer happiness. There were even tears at times and that same demand for snuggles. In the end, we picked up the most happy child ever, so we knew that all of this emotion is just temporary.

This time, with a full year of knowledge under her belt, our oldest daughter played it cool. She fulfilled the role of the big sister and gave little tips out.

"You can have any bunk bed you want. Just throw your stuff on it and it is yours."

"Top beds are way cooler."

"At night, you can use your flashlight under your covers to read and no one says anything."

"Don't worry, I will see you a lot and we can get into line together for meals."

"Your counselors will be sooooo nice. They will help you."

"You're little.  I bet that you will get flipped the most on the water raft.  You're going to love it!"

Seeing my soon-to-be sixth grade daughter playing it so cool and mature with her little sister, allowed me to be more confident too.

I still had that restless energy that alternated between nervousness and excitement, but I was able to actually relax a bit more.  I focused on packing the week before and making two big care packages for the girls to open on Monday night's mail call. 

After that was done, I filled the empty spaces of time with extra snuggles and fun day trips around town, keeping us all busy.

Then finally, camp check in arrived.

The procedure itself is rather long.  And of course, times two, ends up being around 3 hours for our family.  It contained the usual arrival, medication drop off, photo ID picture taking, and meeting with the med staff on how to actually care for our children.  If you have never been through camp or are hesitant to go, let me just say that the med staff rocks!  One of our med staff this year, actually made index cards with notes from the previous year for our oldest child. 

"Hi!  How is your broken arm?  Did it heal up?  Are you still playing soccer?  How was fifth grade?"

(Insert shocked looks on all of our faces - how did she know that stuff?)

I think that might have been the best "camp" magic trick, any of us have witnessed.  This truly is the magic of type 1 diabetes camp.  People who come out and volunteer to spend a week with your child in hopes of letting kids be kids and allowing parents a little extra time to charge their very important batteries.

These diabetes peeps care!  How cool is that?

During check in, we also scored some cool swag with a couple of back packs, beach towels and from a rep who loves our Naturally Sweet Sisters, four Verio IQ One Touch meters (I promise to update on those when the girls come back from camp - oldest daughter immediately fell in love with I-Pod look and feel of them - just need to see how well these babies work!).

Once both girls were in their cabins and getting changed for the big swim test, my husband and I reluctantly left with only a wave and one last snuggle.  The girls were too excited to be nervous and gave us a little push towards the door. 

And so we walked away, empty handed, no kids, no sleeping bags, no diabetes stuff.  For a moment, too drained of all those heightened emotions to say much of anything to each other.  Camp check in day was not only here, but now over.

We, as parents, have a week off.

A whole week off.

With no one planning a swim test for us, making us dormitory food, taking us on zip lines and hikes.... now what do we do?

See it isn't the diabetes that I will miss, but the fun times that we have with our girls. 

A long silence on the drive, this time, from the two of us.  I feel the need for a snuggle to reassure me that the girls will be fine (or maybe it is for me to reassure me that I will be fine).

But wait... did my husband just make us a tee time at our golf course and suggest an adult dinner afterward?  I briefly contemplate the last time we went on a date and I come up empty handed.

Time alone with my husband, who at times seems more like a medical co-worker, than a husband.

Okay, so maybe this is going to be a fun week for the grown ups too.

Camp really IS great!


NikDuck said...

Love reading this update about your girls going to camp. Enjoy your week!

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

So far, so good! I am missing them but glad to have time to reconnect with my husband. It has been almost a decade if you count babies to diabetes! Time flies!!!!