I was stilled as I began to watch the video, that was full of hope for me as the momma of not one graduate, but also as I prepare to repeat this choice for another of my boys. I loved to see the grown men sharing about their time as adolescents at camp. I took great joy in the fact that they had been able to look back and share the good that they received from their experiences. Imagine my surprise, when I heard my own voice on the video. (It had been well over a year since I had been taped by this organization, and frankly had assumed that my portion had hit the editing room floor.) But as my words were being said, my current situation is again mirrored with another of our boys.
Grumpy's youngest brother Bashful, is about to embark on this same journey (although in a different state and a camp with a different name) the feelings and the anxieties are the same for me, the momma. It is one of the hardest things to do. Send your child to live a life away from you. To trust that they will be cared for and loved in the same manner that you love and care for them. To be able to see past the immediate of exhaustion and frustration and selfishness and trust that it will all be worth it in the end. Is Grumpy fixed? No. Will Bashful be fixed? No. However, the things that they learn at camp, the experiences they share and work through in life away from our home help growth and healing to begin. Let me be real for a moment. The benefit to having the difficult, troubled, trying child/young adult being out of your home, especially after a prolonged journey to the pit of despair, is almost one of relief. But healing is needed on all fronts. Not just for the child that is hurting, but for the family unit that has had to deal with all that comes from their brokenness; explosive anger, and hurtful words and situations. It takes time for all parties to get to a place where they desire to spend time together again as a unit. Healing does and will happen. When I look back on where Grumpy was 5 years ago til now, the change is significant. In the light of watching Bashful head down the same road the differences at times are glaringly obvious. The similarities also glaringly obvious. The end result still unknown. Hence hope.
I do not know the men in the video. Grumpy is still many, many years away from being a fully grown man, but yet still I can see the hope for him. The opportunities that are available to him because we did the hard thing, and sent him to camp, are limitless. The changes in him are many. While the day to day often blinds me to the progress that he has made, in these still small moments I am able to see and take stock of what they look like. Today I rejoiced in them.
As I wait on the opening in the sister camp here in Florida for a spot for Bashful, I can again relate to the feelings and emotions of being at the end of my abilities to provide emotional, physical and spiritual help for my son. Knowing that they are each created differently, yet so much the same, the only thing that I can hold on to is the hope that comes from watching this video, and the reminder of how far Grumpy really has come.
Now as we prepare to repeat the camp experience it is our prayer that as in the past, we will soon begin the healing, growth, and maturing process that we have seen beneficial in the past; in the life of yet another of our boys so desperate for help. Join us in praying for a spot to open soon (they are saying it will be fall) and for grace and unconditional love along this bumpy road of waiting.
While this is not a situation you ever think you will find yourself in as a parent, I am so grateful for the men that serve these boys, selflessly, graciously, pursuing them relentlessly as they hold them accountable to standards that will grow them into men that can love and serve their families and communities some day.... You really can't make this stuff up.