Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Scout Is Prepared

I realized this morning that I have advanced in the ranks of Scouting. I am now a seasoned veteran of Scout camp. I no longer panic at the sight of a memo detailing an upcoming Scout adventure. I no longer grimace at the thought of the line of credit we'll have to open to finance obscure camping novelties. I no longer wring my hands as I eye the pile of pricey gear that stands about a fifty-fifty chance of ever darkening our door again.

Tim and Dave left for camp this morning.

(Another note to you blog-reading robbers: They left a husky and bad-tempered Rottweiler to guard the house. It hasn't eaten today.)

Tim spent last week at "High Adventure Camp." He arrived home late Friday night with a bag full of N-A-S-T-Y clothes and NO HAIR! Yes, part of the adventure involved shaving his head. We had thirty-six hours to fumigate, wash, dry, and assemble another bunch of gear for Scout camp. Two or three years ago, this would have wigged me out big time. Now I just check our supply of bleach.

After three years of summer camp and weekend trips innumerable, I've learned a few things:

1. Most of the stuff really does come back . . . eventually.

2. We buy most of it used anyway. Let me call for a moment of silence in honor of Value World, the consignment shop near my in-law's house. Nike hoodies for $3.00, new jeans for $4.00,  nearly new Nike running shoes $5.00, the cutest red, tiered skirt for $1.50 (okay, so that's not actually going to Scout camp). Value World has saved me a bundle. Value World has saved me a few trips to confession. Value World has helped me detach from created things.

3. On the subject of miscellaneous stuff (the compass, the sock liners, the headlamp) -- dare I say it? -- I think we now own just about all of it.

4. We also keep it all in one tub so the dashing from one end of the house to the other is minimal.

So off they go for a week of sailing, electronics, archery, and -- gulp! -- riflery. The laundry no longer intimidates me, but firearms do. And then there's the potential EpiPen/anaphalactic thing -- that chills me to the bone. As Tim made his list and checked it twice, I reviewed bee sting procedures with him. First, tell an adult. Do this while you're pouring Benadryl into your mouth. If there's any - Any! Any! Any! - sign of swelling above your shoulders, use the EpiPen!

Better to change the subject.

I look at this young man who is so clearly not the boy I sent off to his first camp three summers back. He's taller than I am; his feet are bigger than his father's; his voice is nearly as deep; he (mostly) packs his own bag.

It's all so much easier than it was. But somehow I found myself crying this morning.

I'm not entirely redundant. I am still in charge of procuring snacks and -- my favorite -- sewing on patches. Let the record reflect, I affixed four last night. Re-runs of Downton Abbey made the job slightly less gruelling. Admittedly, two or the four patches are listing. I still think I deserve a merit badge with an oak leaf cluster for my efforts.

Tim walked into the house Friday, gave me a bigger than usual hug, and said, "I missed you, Mom."

I guess that beats a merit badge with or without the oak leaf cluster.

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