We arrived at Camp Pinnacle on Friday after the “Colossal Coaster” ride of Vacation Bible School and after not a few meltdowns from this mama and those girls. We were tired and I honestly didn’t believe I had the energy for a mother/daughter overnight camp. Check-in complete, bags in the cabin (pretty nice lodging actually), chicken nugget supper (a cafeteria classic), and slowly I was starting to unwind a bit. Slowly, I was starting to enjoy actually seeing my daughters.
I read this post the other day about how women fear becoming invisible. It only makes sense to believe our daughters fear this too. Until this weekend, I hadn’t realized how little time I actually spend seeing them, and how many moments I miss because I’m not tuned into their little moments. I saw Annabelle grin delightfully and Madelynne watch me intently. I saw the spark of joy that comes when they’re discovering a new talent, realized how much they want me to focused on them as individuals and not just as the first and second sisters.
This weekend gave me an opportunity to do something I hardly ever do: play with my kids. After a brief and fun introduction to worship, we all gathered on the lawn for Color Wars, those notorious camp relay games and my girls were so proud that their mommy was competing with them. They were astounded to learn I could jump rope and super proud when I hopped to the cone with a ball between my knees.
After games, we went on a mission walk with our counselors and learned a little about the camp’s mission focus this summer, which is the city of Atlanta. Madelynne volunteered to pray and Annabelle drew a picture of her cross necklace and wrote “God Loves You” and snuck a peek at me to see if I had noticed. She’s finally started talking faith with us, and this week between VBS and camp, was the first time I can remember seeing her participate wholeheartedly as though the songs and messages meant more than she knows how to confess.
There was a classic camp bonfire with s’mores and songs and silliness and my girls tried to catch lightening bugs and were giddy that the time was well past bedtime. We slept in bunks that rustled all night once the cabin of giggly girls settled down and were up again early for breakfast and quiet times to talk about putting on the armor of God.
My best mom moment came when they observed I had put on my bathing suit: “Mama, you’re getting in the pool with us? Really??” I never swim with them. I always watch from the sidelines, usually with the baby, on the very edges of their excitement. But Saturday morning I shivered in the cool blue water and played Marco Polo and beat Madelynne in a swim race and cuddled with Annabelle when we were both covered in chillbumps.
On Saturday morning, I got to guide my daughter’s hands around a pottery wheel and learn from the other how to fire an arrow from a bow. I got to sit in a swing by the lake and worship in a chapel filled with women of all ages. I got to give thanks to God for giving me daughters and beg for mercy and guidance to raise them.
Thank goodness there was a place this weekend that helped me see them.