This was a L O N G week. I don't even remember the last time I said that. But this was the longest week I've had in quite awhile. I think there are lots of reasons for that, but the main thing was because Mason was gone. He went to boys' missions camp this week. And let me just tell you. Even though I still had the two girls at home, it was quiet. It wasn't one of those golden silences either. It was a deafening silence, and I did. not. like. it. one. bit. By Wednesday night, I was ready to just go get him myself. But, of course, I didn't.
Once again I sent him with my handy dandy plastic bag organizational system. It's so user friendly for almost 11-year old boys. It might even be embarrassing for said boys, but mine didn't complain.
When the boys headed out on Monday morning, the moms and I stood around talking for a bit. One of the moms commented about packing only three towels for her son. The other mom and I just busted out laughing. Before I could even say anything, she mentioned that Mason didn't take the first shower last year. He thought a dip in the pool compensated for a shower. And, for that reason, I packed Mason only ONE towel and wash cloth. I mean, why waste space and create even more dirty laundry? The kid didn't take a shower last year, and I was there as a chaperone! Of course, I didn't know this until the last day we were there. But anyway. I obviously had pretty low expectations for this year, especially since I wouldn't be there at all.
After we got home this afternoon, he helped me sort through all of his clothes. I was prepared for dirty, muddy, yucky, smelly boy clothes. I was even prepared for Mason to be smelly. But he wasn't! I was also pleasantly surprised when his clothes weren't particularly dirty, muddy and yucky. But they were smelly. And wet. That one towel I packed for him was ringing wet and wadded up on top of everything else.
I couldn't help myself. I asked him if he took a shower. His response? Yes, ma'am. I took a shower EVERY day. I couldn't help myself. I was in shock. And then he said, "We were FORCED to take a shower every day."
Forced? I don't know what my kid knows about being forced. He hasn't been forced to do anything his entire life, not even eat his green beans! At this particular camp, they had two camp staffers assigned to each group of boys. These camp staffers were with them the entire time, and they stuck to a pretty rigid schedule. Last year the camp staffers did not bunk with the kids. The chaperones did, and we were in charge of a lot of the activities. There was also a lot more free time. Mason said the camp counselors made sure all of the boys took showers each day. Since they'd been riding horses and playing in the creek and doing all sorts of other boy things, I'm sure those showers were sorely needed!
Anyway, I was really thankful for this load of wet, smelly laundry this afternoon!
I don't think I've ever been so happy to get my hands on my boy. Last summer I spent 10 days away from him when Seth and I went on our anniversary trip, but that was different. I was the one away having fun. This time he left me at home to go have fun. I know that part of this whole parenting thing is preparing them to fly the next one day, but I've already decided I might struggle with the whole empty nest thing.
He had a great week, and he came home worn slap out. He gave me a big, long hug and let me hold him an extra long time, which I was thankful for. He answered all my 100 questions about his week and what he did. But I haven't seen him this tired in a very long time.
I wasn't the only one who missed Mason. The girls and I went grocery shopping on Monday after we dropped him off at church. Ellie just all of a sudden stopped in the middle of the produce aisle and started whining and crying. Now, that's not unusual. It happens pretty much on a daily basis. I turned around rather exasperatedly and asked her, "What now, Ellie?" Her response? "I miss Mason. I'm ready for him to come back now." I mean, it hadn't even been six hours yet. Yep, it was a long week!
So what did we do? Well, we had a field trip on Wednesday. We went to the Port Allen Locks. First of all, I do not understand why they call it "locks." They probably addressed this in the presentation, and I just missed it. I'm sure I could consult Google. Or Siri. But I'm too tired to do that right now. Let's just say it's a man made waterway that saves ships and barges about 130 miles of travel time on their way to or from New Orleans. It also helps to prevent and control flooding. It's operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the water rise or a ship pass through because they were working on the locks. But we did get to see them haul the big crane in.
In addition to managing the waterway, they are also involved in conservation and egg hatching efforts.
I've also spent a lot of time this week preparing for VBS. The prayer guides and flyers and registration forms and name tags are all printed. I started learning the music. The invitations are ready to go out in the mail. These 130 invitations represent 177 (probably more!) kids and 119 families.
And, just to make it even more exciting, we also unexpectedly ended up at the pediatrician's office this morning. We haven't seen Dr. K in over 18 months! Yes, we are healthy. You can also say we're a bit behind on our "well visits!" I just love it that our doctor remembers us. She even gave me a big hug today when she saw me. That makes me want to "catch up" on our well visits. Kind of. But not really.
And that was our week. As soon as all of that laundry is done, I'll be packing suitcases again, this time for four of us. Next week will be the third week in a row that one or most of us are living out of a suitcase. In the meantime, I'm just so thankful for two days at home with my people. All of them!