Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Homesick Boy Scout.... (and oh yeah, I got my hair done....)

My husband asked me what I would look like if I didn't do anything to my hair. Because he thinks I'm high maintenance.  And expensive.  And then he asked me what I would look like, say,... if I was a homeless woman.  And I told him I hope I never have to find out,  but hope I'd look like a homeless woman with great hair.    

So I sat at the salon - if you can call it that - with about 100 foils in my hair getting my blonde all shiny again for the new year.... while all around me loud rock music played, album covers plastered the walls and everyone was tattooed and pierced but me.  And the girl next to me wore a belt made of bullets. But my guy does great hair. 

And I was the only one in there over 30, I think.  And the only nerdy one writing in her journal, and the only one that got a call from her crying kid away at Boy Scout camp.  Crying to come home.  The same kid that cried his way through the first month of middle school and managed to bum phones off anyone who would feel sorry for him, including the custodian.  But he finally grew comfortable and accomplished and found what I guess I would call contentment at school.  And he even found out that he likes school dances, which I think is a heck of a lot of learning for a 12 year old boy in a short amount of time. 


And in the last few days he and I were talking about all that we've done over the last year.  So many family trips and places traveled, but even bigger than that is how much growth he's made in such a short time. How far he's come in middle school in just a few months and how much he has matured.  And I told him how proud I am that he was able to get a handle on his fears and worries.   

Then the phone rang.  This time he bummed a phone off a dad at camp.  One of the adult scout leaders who fell for his tears and let him call his mama.  And he told me that the latrine is miles across camp and his tent is really a one man tent that he has to share with his buddy and how he's cold and miserable.  And he made me feel sad right at the time when I was sitting under the hair dryer with a head full of foil.  So his heart broke and my heart broke and I couldn't do a darn thing about it.  Because he's 90 miles away, for one.  And the biggest problem.... when to rescue the kid and when to say no.

Because all his calls from school were of the come get me kind.  Wanting to come home...NOW... right in the middle of math class.  And multiple trips to the nurse with a nervous stomach.  And tears hidden from the other kids, but tears that burst wide open the minute I would answer the phone.  

But I never did go get him from school.  I let him learn the new place and the new bus ride and the new friends and teachers.  And he did.  But I feel different about this one.  Because he's far from home.  And it's cold.  And it's for five days, not just a school day.  But is it right to rush in and go get him because he's homesick?  Or is this a time for him to remember how he managed with the new school and found his courage?  He's surrounded at camp with friends and a big brother (who may or may not be a help in this one.)  And the greatest dad leaders a mom could ask for.  So he's safe and cared for.....  but still cold.

And I thought about it the first day he called.  I thought about how parenting changes as the kid changes.  How I thought it was hard to send them off to kindergarten, and their first sleep away camp.  But all of that is preparing them  - and me  - for the bigger away times in life. 

And I thought about confidence and security and peace.  And I decided I'm not really very strong in the confidence department, myself.  And I do have quite the nervous stomach and a history of other weird things..... and sadly, Kid 2 is a lot like his mama.  But I decided what I do have a bit of is the ability to find peace - either in a situation or in myself when there's none other to be found.  And that's an ongoing lesson for me, too.  And I want that for my kids.  I want them to grow in confidence as they accomplish and experience, but also to grow in peace by learning and trusting who they are.   And they are watching me and their dad and their scout leaders and friends and even complete strangers  - gathering clues about who they are to be.  And confidence is good.  But peace and contentment ... priceless. 

I want them to be able to look beyond circumstance and find the one little piece of good that's there to get them through.  I want them to be able to notice the surprises all around when least expected and when they need it the most.  Because, after all, God likes to surprise.  And I want my boys to find the peace and confidence that comes with knowing the people who love them the most have their best interest at heart.  And that may mean a 90 mile trip to boy scout camp soon for me.  Or maybe a lesson in independence for him as we let him stay and work through it. 

But more than anything, I want them to trust themselves.  I want them to learn and trust their own instincts toward courage, not fear.  Toward trying, not quitting.  And toward finding the positive in every situation - even though they may have to dig deep to see it.

I waited till today to write this.  I've heard from the homesick Boy Scout two days now.  Both calls the same sad story.  But we told him that we wouldn't come get him yet.  That he had to at least try.   And how we really wanted him to look for the good in all of this.  And I got a message last night from one of the leaders that said all is fine. All is good, the text said.  So he's made it three days and two nights.  Here's hoping for more.  One day at a time. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. so glad you all survived and the kids are back home! We had such similar calls from Noah his first summer camp - in Colorado - for a week! So hard when you get those calls and you just want to hug them and hold them but you know the better thing is as you've said here for them to find the good, gain the confidence, and know they can handle difficult situations. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alesia, thank you for joining me here and reading along. That's kinda my main parenting technique these days.... talking it out on here. And I am so thankful for all the moms out there that can confirm and verify and reinforce and encourage each other - and me - as we try to figure it all out.
    And I wrote a follow up post after the boys got home. And it all turned out good. He looked around and decided the place wasn't all that bad after all. Lesson learned, even though it was a cold one.


Love your comments. Leave Your comments.