Camp is a lot like Life….

Posted on | September 30, 2010 | 1 Comment

When I was a kid, I went to camp almost every summer. I started the summer after fifth grade and continued right on up until I was a Counselor while in college. Always the same camp, usually the same people.

The camp was Presbyterian Point and it was the most amazing place on the planet. It sat right on Kerr Lake, on the border between North Carolina and Virginia. I’ll never forget the feeling of turning off the main road and onto the gravel drive that lead to the camp parking lot. No matter how many summers I went, I always got a sinking pit in my stomach when my father pulled in. I loved Presbyterian Point with all my heart but I was always so scared. What if no one liked me? What if I did something stupid and everyone made fun of me? What if no boy asked me to dance at the end of camp dance… or maybe worse, what if one did?

It wasn’t without drama, the good old P. Point. Some of my best and worst times were there. It was at Presbyterian Point that I first learned that really amazing people can and do exist. It was at Presbyterian Point that I first learned that people you love can do things to hurt you… and you will still love them. It was at Presbyterian Point that I had my first real kiss and my first heartbreak… not from the same person.

Summer camp can be like that, you know? When you’re young, a week is forever. Anything can happen in a week. You can be almost anyone and you can do almost anything.  I was not exactly the cool kid growing up. I had issues with self esteem and issues with … well, a lot of things. My first night at summer camp was horrible. HORRIBLE. I had never been that far away from home and I was scared. So scared, that I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I wet the bed.

Just typing that reminds me of how I felt. The horror. The humiliation. The complete and total terror. I was there with friends. If they found out? I would die. I was about to start middle school and that was hard enough to process without being known for wetting the bed. But you know what my counselor did? She woke me up early. Earlier than anyone else. And she swept my bed clean, washed my sleeping bag and clothes, and had everything fixed and me back in bed as if nothing happened when everyone else woke up. Can you imagine? She was probably 18 or 19 years old but she had the compassion and the decency to know that I needed her help. I will never, ever forget her for that.

I could write a whole blog just on Presbyterian Point stories, but it would probably bore you. I could write about how I wrote pretend letters to my sister the summer before seventh grade about a boy in my co-cabin who I was too scared to talk to. And about how my friend who went to camp with me found them and read them out loud to everyone in our cabin and co-cabin… including the boy. I could write about how I tried to forget about the humiliation of that moment but still pushed her out of our sailboat in the middle of the lake later that week. I could write about the amazing counselors and co-workers I got to know. I could write volumes about the scenery and the memories and the fun.

But those stories are for another time. So why am I sharing about Presbyterian Point and one of my greatest humiliations? Because I’m having that same sinking feeling of terror today.

My employer has rented a house for me and five of my co-workers so we can attend a seminar at St. Simon’s Island. All of us. One house.

I have a lot of those camp parking lot moments now that I’m a mother. I had one when they brought me my child for the very first time… and one when they took him away for the night. I had one when I pulled into daycare for the first time and one when we left Macon. I had one when J had his episode at 3 months and another when they gave him the anesthesia for his tests. I had one when the nurse took my baby away to put tubes in his ears and another when I dropped him off at his first day of daycare in Savannah. Being a mom is a lot of unknown and a lot of trepidation. It’s a lot of worry… some rational and some irrational. And this leaving J to spend two nights in a house with people I don’t know? This is a two-fold worry.

On the one hand, there are the motherly concerns: What will J do? What will he eat? Will he cry and miss me? Would it be worse if he doesn’t? And on the other hand? There are all my old fears about living in a shared space with people I don’t really know.

What if they don’t like me? What if I do something stupid? What if I miss my kid so much that I cry really loud at night and wake everyone up and they lay in bed and wonder who hired me?  I’m absolutely terrified that this is going to be a massive disaster. What if they all get along and I’m the uncool kid in the corner wondering why I’m there and if I’ll ever have friends at work.  It’s going to be like driving into the camp parking lot all over again.

Only this time? Please, dear God, do NOT let me wet the bed.


One Response to “Camp is a lot like Life….”

  1. Mandi
    October 1st, 2015 @ 11:41 am

    Hey! I went to Presbyterian Point camp too!! Shake your bushy tail!! Sunfish sailboats! Taking out a fleet of sunfishes and the catamarans as CITs and camping on one of the islands during a weekend with no kids! I was there from 3rd grade till 11th grade – which would be about 1983 to 1991. I had a really amazing childhood, but being a Kerr Lake all summer was one of the highlights of my life – so glad the spirit of us campers is still out there in the world sharing those experiences. Happy life to you!

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