What I Learned From Summer Camp

Our two oldest went to their first ever sleep away camp for five days this past week.  Considering that we don't even do normal sleepovers this was a pretty big deal and one we discerned and thought about for a long time.  Quelling both my outlandish or responsible fears, they had a fabulous time.  My oldest even turned twelve while he was there!  I don't have any pictures from when they were there because I didn't even think to take any at the drop off or pick up.  But I feel like such a momentous event for our little family needs to be chronicled somehow even if it in quick jotted note form!  So here's some of the lessons I learned from camp week:


I learned that, despite the normal mom doubts, we're not doing a half bad job at raising confident, secure kids that can hold their own while away from us and make pretty decent choices while they're gone.  (Those two, anyway...)

I learned that the first three days I'll be pretty good without them here but at about 10 p.m. on the fourth day I will lie in bed and begin to panic with all sorts of awful scenarios running through my head and I'll desperately need a quick "they're both great" text from a friend who's there to calm the crazy mind games.

I learned (again) that God will always provide the right grace for each kid at the right time.  

I learned that these two boys can be trusted to make pretty good food decisions and that explaining your reasoning for family decisions really does work. 

I learned that number one is still not very sleep-deprived sensitive and number two still very much is.

I learned that the Holy Spirit is a better parent than I ever could be and when we work together it's amazing.

I learned that the amount of fighting at home when two are away reduces to almost nil.

I learned that when it comes to the safety of your kids and your peace of mind, it's worth it to ask question after question after question.   

I learned that showering is (apparently) for the weak.

I learned that newly turned 12 year olds can still want to share everything with their parents.

I learned (and knew) that I have great friends that I can trust with my kids.

I learned the joy of watching your two boys have something special to share as you hear them sing their camp songs together while doing their chores.  

I learned that five days is just about the right amount of time before you really start to ache for them to be home again.

I learned that my boy will listen to the voice of God and be willing to share what he hears in front of a hundred other peers and counselors.  

I learned that my other boy will be willing to lead the chain of kids winding around the room during praise and worship ("because then I could make it go slower...they went too fast once and I fell").

I learned that no matter the age, no matter how many kids you have, you will feel the void when they aren't at home and your family will feel sharply incomplete.

God is so good.  I'm so grateful for the experience they had and am so looking forward to how God will continue to work through it.

(how boys pack)


  1. I found myself nodding with so many of your learned lessons - our girls were away last week at camp, too. Nighttime was the hardest for me - I just wanted my girls in their beds while I slept.

    And my kids are amazed that I know half the camp songs they learned...camp songs haven't changed much over the years.

    1. Yeah, it was so weird and uncomfortable not having the whole family under one roof at night! You're right about the songs. There were a few silly ones I hadn't heard but I overheard one of the boys singings "Rise and Shine" and it made me smile :)

  2. Summer camp was such a big part of my childhood in the best way that I can't wait to give that to my kids. But in three weeks, I have three days of day camp book and I still need all these life lessons for that. I know he'll be fine and LOVE it, but gosh darn if it doesn't make me nervous!

  3. Oh bittersweet moments as our children grow up xx


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