Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Monday, 29 August 2011
Sunday, 28 August 2011
Saturday, 27 August 2011
Okay - I made this a separate entry because I didn't want to dwell on it while talking about all the great things from the camping trip. There was one incident. (Mom, everyone is fine. Let me stress that first. FINE.) Colin was in the field playing with the kids when all of a sudden my friend was ascending the hill guiding a bawling Colin over to me. Colin had had his face painted earlier in the day, a scary sort of skeleton. But I hadn't remember them adding red paint as blood... It turned out Colin had fallen and hit his head on a rock. Thankfully, I was surrounded by 9 other moms, so even though I was able to keep an even hand, I had the added benefit of their clear minds. I mopped up Colin's face to reveal a large gash. Colin was shaking and crying, both from pain and fear. We moms all looked on, trying to make the decision of whether stitches were needed, or if a stair strip would suffice. Everyone sprang into action. One mom grabbed some children's tylenol, while another ran for the camp director, to give him a priesthood blessing, and his wife, to open the first aid station.
I carried a terrified and bawling Colin and laid him on the bed in the first aid station. Then the camp director arrived, having called on another camper to come with him to administer the blessing. They laid their hands on Colin's head and pronounced the blessing. At the moment their hands were placed on Colin's head, a quiet peace came over him. He immediately stopped crying, and sat in complete silence. From there we made the decision to drive the 40 minutes into the hospital and have a doctor make the call about the stitches. During the drive, Colin sat quietly watching a movie.
We arrived at the ER and were led in right away. There was no question his gash needed stitches, and we were taken directly to a room where they put a topical freezing ointment on the cut. The only wait we had was the 20 minutes it took for the ointment to take effect. Then the doctor came in, with a nervous look in her eye, as she tentatively explained that she would still need to use a freezing needle in the cut to complete the freezing before she could stitch it up. I smiled and assured her that that was okay. I knew that would happen because of my own experience getting stitches when I was about 6. I also knew that the needle would be extremely painful, because I can still remember being held down as I screamed, while my mother bawled in the hallway. I prayed for strength and said I would hold Colin while it happened. She said she would probably get some others to help hold him down also. I'm not sure what made her change her mind, most likely it was Colin's calm demeanor. To this point, there had still not been even a peep out of Colin, except to answer the questions of the doctor. But in the end, Colin lay down on the bed and I bent over his chest, clinging both his hands and staring into his eyes.
The doctor got out the needle and stuck it in, moving all around inside the cut to inject the freezing liquid. I stared into Colin's eyes and he stared right back at me, with a twinge of fear but still not making a sound. I hummed a melody and reassured him in hushed tones. Then the doctor stitched him up with three big blue stitches and it was all over.
The cut is a jagged line over his brow, and looks exactly like the scar from Harry Potter in the book/movie series, so we've been joking with Colin and calling him Harry Potter. Even though he hasn't yet seen the films, he still thinks it's really neat. I hope it heals nicely and fades away over time, but for now I'm trying to play up how cool it is. Colin needs that kind of reassurance: if I tell him it's neat and cool, he'll get onside with that. Plus, he was given a special "award of bravery" - his very first badge.
I cannot adequately express the power of that priesthood blessing Colin received. I have heard stories of how kids cry and scream and writhe in pain when that freezing needle is administered; I have been there myself. And yet from the moment that blessing started, all the panic and tears and fear fled from Colin. The nurse, doctor and hospital staff were amazed. This is definitely a story for the family book of scripture. Once we got home last night, I spoke a little with Colin about how he felt, trying to help him pinpoint the moment when he stopped crying and no longer felt afraid, only a peace. I explained what the Holy Spirit feels like, and the power of the blessing. I know he's young, but he has a solid memory, and I hope this will help him in his own spiritual journey.
Friday, 26 August 2011
Well, we did it! 10 moms, 40 kids, 3 days in the wilderness. It was awesome.
Okay, it was crazy, but it was still fantastic. We all met up at a camp our church has built about 3 hours east of us. Somehow we were actually early getting off in the morning, and even after a half hour stop at a McDonalds for a stretch and a play, we still arrived first. The campground was beautiful. Seven different group sites have been cleared out, with picnic shelters at each one. Our site was right across from the pavilion, shared by all the sites. At the pavilion there is a fully stocked kitchen with fridges, freezers, stoves, and everything you might need to prepare food for large groups. Plus there are toilets and showers (not that I could actually grab a shower myself, with three little boys running around everywhere!)
I picked a place for the tent and set it up while the boys ran back and forth, revelling in the freedom of nature. Before long the other moms began arriving, including my good friend from back in Toronto and her four boys. They truly were the guests of honor for Colin, who asks about once a week when we can visit "Jacob from Toronto."
No one in the group knew everyone; it was a mish mash of moms that my friend and I invited, as we hoped to build a group of moms with the same parenting style and adventurous spirit we possess. As it turned out, it was a great mix. We also tried to ensure that there was a good mix of ages of kids, so that everyone would have someone to make friends with.
It was three days of fun chaos. There were no real plans, which I think the kids especially loved, giving that in two weeks they will all be back to the rigidity of a school schedule. Mostly the kids just ran around with each other, going for a swim, playing in the dirt, running in the forest. Apparently poison ivy, which abounded in the uncleared parts of the forest, takes 72 hours to show up, so we'll have to wait and see how many kids fell victim.
Each mom paired up with another to bring the food and prepare one meal, which meant that for 4 other meals we were off the hook. It was a great setup which eased the constant burden of feeding 40 hungry kids.
At one point, the camp director's wife was talking with some of the kids. She asked them what they thought of the trip:
Barb: So, what do you think of camping with just mom and all these kids?
Boy: It's awesome! It's the best camping trip ever! So much better than the Father/Son camp!
(Father/son camp is a yearly church tradition when the boys are a little older, starting around 8 or 9 years old.)
I think two things contributed to this feeling: 1) the lack of scheduling and 2) our personalities. We were laid back, letting the kids explore on their own rather than hovering over them every second.
During our second night, we faced a rather formidable storm, and more than one worried husband called up to warn us. I don't carry a cell phone, so James had to hide up his worry and hope I was fine. What was interesting was that these 10 women, all with strong, independent personalities, are all married to worrier husbands. Now, understand, I don't say that this makes the men weak at all. In fact, if a relationship is going to work, it is best that each partner complement the other, having strengths where the other has weaknesses, and attitudes that work with each other. At any rate, we survived the storm, even if it did mean packing up wet tents the next morning.
And so this adventure comes to an end. My friend Lori and I, who organized it, hope to make it a yearly tradition. I'll be in for sure, and hopefully at least a couple of the other women had a good enough time to want to return! We'll see next year, I suppose.