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Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

I had a massive camp convergence this week where I found pictures from my old camp on Facebook, reconnected with some old camp friends, and started signing up the twins for camp. How many more times can I use camp in a sentence? Camp camp camp.

I was a camp sort of kid. I was at a party a few years ago and I was talking with this man who was a camp director. He lived at the camp pretty much all year round and planned the summer sessions. It sounded like the greatest job in the world. I mean, I would suck at it due to that whole "fear of crickets" thing, but still. Camp all year round? What could be bad about that?

I feel like I was really me at camp.

I went to the same day camp for eight years, then took a three year hiatus to attend sleep away camp (a sleep away camp with a socialist theme--just to give you a reason for how I turned out. This is how you achieve such a high state of kumbayaness: go to a camp where the session themes are "educate yourself on fighting Apartheid!" or "18 ways kids can help the homeless"), and returned to my day camp for nine more years as a counselor. Getting a year-round job really sucks--it cuts into your camp life.

In honour of camp, I would like to tell you a story about one of my counselors.

We had a rule at my day camp that you couldn't bring toys from home. But one day, when I was eight, I got a retractable yo-yo. Many of you will be saying as Josh did, "but aren't all yo-yos retractable?" And yes, they are, but this was one of those orb-like yo-yos that had a spring inside so that the string always rolled back no matter what you did. A yo-yo for lazy, uncoordinated children like myself.

And I had to bring this yo-yo to camp. I was just too proud of it--I wanted to show it off to everyone in my unit. Every morning, we started the day with songs and skits and they called the half hour "Gully" because it was held in this natural amphitheater that had 2 X 4s nailed into the ground as seats. The counselor at the heart of this story played guitar and led the songs in Gully but he was also my unit counselor (he had actually been my CIT when I was six, but now he had moved units and was my counselor at age eight).

I was showing off my yo-yo during Gully, trying to keep it discreet so it wouldn't get taken away, but when I tried to put it back in my pocket, it slipped out of my hands and rolled all the way down the amphitheater to the stage. I ran after it--I was so embarrassed and worried, but I didn't want to lose the yo-yo. I put it back in my pocket and returned to my seat and tried not to cry.

When we got back to the room, the counselor took me aside to talk about the yo-yo. I was so embarrassed, I remember not being able to look up at him. But all he said was, "that yo-yo must be very special if you brought it to camp even knowing the rules. You must love it a lot and be so excited about it. I'd like to see it if it is that special to you." So I showed him the yo-yo and he made the appropriate exclamations over it (and did not tell me that it was a yo-yo for lazy, uncoordinated children, as Josh did). And then he told me to put it in my cubby because it was against camp rules and he wanted to make sure it got home safely. But he was so happy that he got to see it.

Josh asked me how I remember these random people--camp counselors who I haven't seen in 13 years--but how can you not when someone taught you such a valuable lesson about letting a child save face? I think about that counselor every time I try to do the same.

The Weekly What If: if you could be either a camper or a counselor this summer, which would it be (and you can choose to be a different age from what you are now. In other words, you could be eight again)? Would it be a day camp or a sleep away camp? And what cabin/unit would you be in?

It is Friday the 13th again. It is also time for Lori's yearly Limerick contest. You only have until tomorrow to enter. Here are my contributions:

You may know her as the longest running Clicker
She's taken care of you; that's why I picked her
In this whole world wide web
She tells of All Things Deb
Her commitment to this community never flickers


From UTERUS to the LFCA
She has helped so many people along the way
She just drove down to see Cali
For her Internet shower party
She's Jen who makes you want to say yay!

or...I promise, last one

One day there will be a baby smiling from the back seat
She'll be ecstatic when at last they do meet
She reworked the whole blogroll
Made sure people were where they should go
And that is why Cassandra is so neat.

Beat that, Niobe!

And now, the blogs...

Relaxing Doesn't Make Babies has a post about changing her mind on the method for her next cycle. Though she intended to do another stim cycle, she opted for the FET because, as she writes so poignantly, "Look at right now. I am heartbroken, I am tired, I am just treading water. What could would 2 months do me right now? 2 more months of grief, of sitting around twiddling my damn thumbs and watching people get pregnant all around me." It is her first time moving into the game without planning out the steps to get in. And while it is scary and unnerving, it also feels right. And that makes all the difference.

Preheated Oven has a post about thinking positive, questioning the wisdom in squelching all negative thoughts during IVF. She admits: "if I only think happy positive thoughts and this doesn't work I will be in a very bad place. For me realizing that there is a chance this won't work makes it easier on me if it doesn't. No expectations=no disappointment." It's a great post asking a very important question: what damage does positive thinking do in addition to its good points?

See, this is why everyone should read blogs--Child Bearing Hips has a post this week about dreams and until I read it, I didn't realize that these strange dreams in the first months were common. Even though the twins were never in our bed, I constantly woke up thinking that I had just accidentally shoved them off or rolled on top of them. Blogs are like finding another person's diary and suddenly realizing you're normal after all.

Lastly, the Duck's Big ol' Blog of How to Build a Nest has a post about being an intended parent. It is an amazingly insightful post and I love reading her point of view. She writes: "I guess it’s because I’m not physically pregnant that I can’t sleep. This must be how men feel, when their wife is pregnant. A little useless. Excited, happy, but, a little helpless, because other than my thoughts there is nothing I can do." The whole post made me see the world in a different way from beginning to end.

The roundup to the Roundup: I obviously love camp as well as this former counselor. He changed the way I parent and teach. What would you do this summer in the Weekly What If? Write your own limerick. And lots of great blogs to read. See you Saturday night for Show and Tell where I perform amazing feats with a candle.


Anonymous said...

"Blogs are like finding another person's diary and suddenly realizing you're normal after all."

Yes! This is so incredibly true!

I was a girl scout camp attender for YEARS and had the best times at camp. I hope to send my son to girl scout camp someday as well. Wait...what?


Chickenpig said...

I don't know about camp, but there is a Zen retreat place around here someplace that my boss's husband went to for a week. He said it was beautiful there, and quiet. The idea of being able to just BE, and to enjoy nature, and just makes me want to cry. It feels like I haven't had a moment to myself to just be still in years. Unless you count the many hours spent naked under a paper sheet with my legs in the stirrups staring at the mobile on the ceiling.

Kristin said...

"Blogs are like finding another person's diary and suddenly realizing you're normal after all."...oh man is that ever true!!!

I would be a camper and I would want to go to a quilting camp like the one described in the Elm Creek Quilt books.

Cara said...

Ooooo- this is fun!!

I would be a seven year old at Girl Scout Camp. I would have earned the award (along with my fellow bluebird hut campers - of course) for cleanest cabin of the week. I would have DEMANDED our reward - a large bag of peanut m&m's - BEFORE the closing ceremony to avoid our counselors getting hungry the night before and eating them all.

Mmmm. Still bitter - can't let that go.

Jen said...

I get my own limerick? I'm famous!

I think I'd go back as a counselor. I've been a day camp counselor and it was such fun. As a camper, I was a homesick, shy dork.

Sarah said...

i found my old camp buddies on facebook too and we started an alumni association and even had a reunion - so fun!!

Deb said...

Aww, Thanks for the limerick Mel! :)

I would be a 10 year old going to Space Camp. That would be very cool.

Io said...

What? I want to go to your camp! That sounds awesome! I was a girl scout camp counselor for a couple years for day camp and I loved it. I think I'd still choose day camp, because every week there was a one night sleepover - and those were the nights I had to pretend to the girls that *I* wasn't afraid of the huge wolf spiders in their tents and then I'd have to take a broom to shoo out the spiders, all while trying not to pee my pants in fear.

My camp counselor name, btw, was Skunk, and my best friend/fellow counselor was Barracuda. No "Rainbow" or "Cookie" for us, nosiree.

And you guys all totally make me feel normal. Ish.

Billy said...

That counselor - wow! What an amazing sensitive person.

Barb said...

LOVE the camp story. I will be using that to guide me as well.

NotTheMama said...

Sigh.... I was such a camp nerd... So much so that I majored in psych and minored in recreation administration (yes, that's a real major, too, and you can get your phd as well)... With the intent to work (somewhere camp-like) using ropes course as therapy... And now I work in a pharmacy, delivering drugs to mental health grou homes. Sigh again. The camp life just isn't conducive to paying for international adoption, or really being a parent for that matter. I digress --- I would be a counselor (something I really did) for a year-long camp for kids in foster homes, group homes, state care, etc... The retreat center I worked at held such a camp for a few days... Hey, why don't I just go post about it on my blog! ;) Part of my heart will forever be stuck in camp world.

Queenie. . . said...

I always wanted to go to summer camp, but I grew up in an area where people from other places send their kids to sleepaway camp, and where the local kids don't go because they live there. I was always so envious.

So, I would be a camper. . .any age would do. Although, my 13 year old self could have really used a good summer away to build a little self-confidence.

JamieD said...

I would love to go to camp! I never went to an overnight camp, only day camps but I love the activities, the crafts, the giggling. Ahhh . . . what it would be like to have no worries again.

Natalie said...

Oh wow, I made it into the roundup? Awwwwwesome!

I don't know how to answer your question, I never went to camp! Always considered it, never actually went. Bummer.

Cassandra said...

Oh me oh my, a limerick about me? Aw shucks. Thanks!

beagle said...

I was a camp loving kid too! I loved it so much that after I aged out, I worked there two summers afterwards. I'd still work there now if it paid the bills. (Alas is was volunteer and on the other coast.)

Bea said...

We are boggling about the idea of a socialist camp here. Camp culture seemed weird already... and now this...