Home from Boy Scout Camp – To Read Part I, please click here.
It wasn’t long until the show was over and kids started straggling back, and I was again greeted by bear hugs from George and Noah and a very mature kiss on the cheek from my big guy, Matt.
But this greeting was different… (continued from Home From Boy Scout Camp Part I)
George and Noah were glad to be going home, but it was the gladness that comes from having survived a week of camp, not from being upset about having had to go to camp. They were grinning ear to ear and talking over each other with stories they wanted to share and about people they had met. Noah proudly showed me the mark on his leg that had turned into a bruise where I’d hit him with a whiffle ball and said after that he became good friends with the boy who was playing with us.
George and Noah both spoke of their week, the merit badges they’ll receive when Scouts starts up again in the fall and the adventures they had; they even complimented the mess hall food!
George seemed to be okay with having been there. I think he learned from this experience something I’ve been trying to teach him for a long time, and in the long run, this will push him to achieve something important that I couldn’t get him to understand. I was SO proud of him and may talk about this more at a later time – when he’s ready.
Noah’s reaction to Boy Scout camp shocked me though.
He was definitely happy to be leaving the daddy long legs behind. He was glad to be coming home with me (He kept hugging me and kissing me and running around doing goofy “Noah-ish” things). He even agreed to shower with no argument (There are few things that smell as bad as three boys after a week of Boy Scout camp – even with daily swimming and mandatory midweek showers!)
But Noah literally could not sit still. He had been transformed in that week, and I loved the change I saw.
My boys are generally on the quieter side when they’re out of the house – no such quietness exists within our four walls, and some days I’d give much for five minutes of silence!
But Noah, when asked about camp, voiced only one major complaint – that he didn’t get to do the skit at closing ceremonies!
So much for my quiet boy! (Matt and George didn’t feel the same way 😉 ) Noah even asked if he could go to Boy Scout camp next year so he could be part of whatever skit they do!
And then, while we were getting ready to go and saying our good byes, the other boys gathered wood for one last campfire, and under the direction of one of our favorite leaders, a retired Army Ranger, the boys got that fire started right up.
The adults sat on logs and chatted around the fire as the boys ran around in the shadows created by the flames, and I swelled with pride as the leaders told me again how much they loved having my kids and getting to know each of their funny little personalities – how each is his own person, but also how alike they all are.
One by one, the kids started to tire and came to check the fire. Just as we were almost ready to go, one of the kids yelled across the oversized fire pit:
Hey, Noah, sing the birthday song!
Noah, who had had his arms wrapped around me with his head tiredly resting on my shoulder, suddenly perked up and laughed out loud. George stopped talking to his friends and joined the chorus while the too cool Matt was nowhere to be seen,
Come on Noah! Do it! Do the Booog-a-Looo!
I had no idea what they were talking about, but the chorus of boys cheering for Noah grew louder and the adult leaders looked at me with huge grins as Noah jumped up on a log, spread his arms out wide, raised his little chin to the treetops and started “singing” Happy Birthday in what he calls his “dying duck voice.”
The dying duck voice is something he’s done since he was little and is impossible to explain. If he ever gives me permission to post a video or make a podcast of it, I certainly will. There is just no way to describe it other than that he truly sounds like a well, a dying duck.
When he was finished Happy Birthday, the cheers and laughter continued as he clenched his hands together in fists in front of his body and moved his hips side to side singing:
Boog-a-loo, boo booog-a-looo…
I shook my head. Never in a million years would I have guessed one of my boys would be the center of attention like this, the Troop clown, but Noah is a super funny (to the point of being annoying sometimes if I am honest! 😉 ) kid at home, and had everyone in stitches around the camp fire that night as even the more serious leaders joined in the laughter.
My heart swelled and I was happy as we left camp for the long ride home. More to the point, I think all three of my little campers were happy too.
I was so proud of them. They hadn’t just fulfilled their commitment and kept their word to stay at camp, they’d found things to like about it. They had taken a “bad” situation and found the good in it rather than run away from it. They hadn’t just even stayed for because they had too, they had opened their hearts and minds to the Goodness that is always present when we look hard enough for it.
And I was handed a little bit of peace about what kind men my boys would grow up to be, a little glimpse of the husbands and fathers they’d be one day.
And I thanked God again for the gift of summer camp from that anonymous donor, and what that week away helped us all to learn.