Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Help, I'm Becoming My Mother!

The best thing about Ben's trip to his week long Scout Camp is Family Night, where we get to visit him there, have dinner, and hang out for the flag ceremonies and awards. This past Friday we did that, and everyone in the Troop -- the leaders, the kids, the parents -- was celebrating their difficult experience.

Not only did they survive this tornado, they survived four others, I learned, that were in the vicinity that same day.

My son described being under the storm. The words, "What tornado, there's not even any hail?" were just out of his mouth when he rounded a bend on the trail and saw the huge twister just on the other side of the small lake. I asked him what everyone was doing, and he imitated the frantic waving of the leaders to get them all in the storm shelter. He said that once inside the shelter, which was under the mess hall, the leaders sang and tried to play games to keep fear at bay. Needless to say, they lost some of the younger campers to phone calls home that day! There were two other tornado watches that week, but no more touched down. I think the kids that stayed should get a special "Tornado" patch, don't you?

That was their second day at camp, Monday. On Wednesday, my son's troop looked up from their campsite to see a new furry camper had joined them: a brown bear. According to Ben, he nosed around the big red dumpster in back of their campsite for the next several nights.

From a parent's perspective, the tornado scare was bad enough. But when I heard about the bear, all I could think was, Thank goodness I didn't know about it. Because, sincerely, that would have put me over the edge.

Okay, now here's the other scary thing: when I heard the bear story, I remembered that on Wednesday night I had the most frightening, vivid nightmare about, you guessed it, being chased by a 7 foot bear. (In my dream, I was in a large building, like a dormitory, and I looked out a glass side door and saw a bear about 20 feet away from a girl on a bench. I ran, opened the door, and yelled at her to get in. She did, with the bear following her, and we slammed the door in the bear's face. Then he got in and chased us up the several flights of stairs, until we escaped by getting on the roof.)

When my son told me about their bear I remembered my creepy dream and told him about it. Then I gasped, because that's what my mother always used to do: tell me she'd dreamed about something that had happened to me! I used to roll my eyes and think to myself that she was making a big deal out of a coincidence, as if she thought she was psychic or something. And now here I am doing the same thing. Life can be so cruel.

At awards time, my son's Troop had the unwanted distinction of having been one of the two whose members spent the most time in the Medic's Cabin. They had one broken bone, several sprains, and a kid that had to spend the night in there because he was homesick to the point of being violently ill. My son described how he'd twisted his ankle badly but refused to go for medical attention because, after a certain number of injuries in one Troop, they get sent home, and he didn't want to add to their overall count. He also got elbowed in the eye and came home with his first shiner!

But the thing that made me the most proud was the award my son was given from his own Troop. They choose two campers to distinguish and he was one of them. The Scoutmaster relayed to me privately the story of Ben's fear of a certain, underwater Lifesaving merit badge task he needed to do. That, coupled with the fact that he had been sick to his stomach the day before after being in the 62 degree pool (the heater had broken) added to his fear. (He couldn't avoid getting medical attention for dehydration that time.) Although he was given the "out" of waiting to get back home and do it in the heated pool, he stayed with the group. He waited to be the last one to go, and the Scoutmaster said he looked like he was still making up his mind whether or not he was going to do it the whole time. Then, he jumped in, did it, and passed the requirement.

When the Scoutmaster told me about it, I had tears in my eyes. We all know our kids, and when I heard about this I knew that Ben had taken several more leaps on the road from boy to man during this week at camp.


Joy said...

What a ride for both you AND Ben! That's an event you won't ever forget. And congratulations to Ben - what a guy!

Angela said...

I probably shouldnt have read this until my son gets back on Saturday after his first time away at Boy Scout camp! HA! (This is also his first time being away for more than just a night or two at a time!)
I wonder what stories he will have to tell?!? :o)

Spotted Sparrow said...

Glad to hear everyone is safe and sound!

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Woo-hoo! Ben had the time of his life...and you are the all-knowing mom which can sometimes be a bit scary but wonderful! Yes, we do become our mothers in more ways than we ever could have guessed.

Micki said...

What an experience! Glad that everyone is alright.