You know those summers you look back on in your childhood, that shine a bit brighter than the rest? I hope you have some anyway. I can’t pinpoint the exact year or event, but there are golden edges to some of my strongest summer memories. I must have been about 12 when I spent what feels like the entirety of July and August alternating between swimming in our backyard pool, and lying on hot beach towels on the driveway, playing the Game of Life with the twins I was best friends with. I can still feel the rough concrete of the driveway through my towel (why weren’t we on the lawn?!), I’m pretty sure my bathing suit was a lurid shade of purple, and I know Tracey always wanted to have so many kids in the game that she needed an extra car to haul them around in. It was a perfect summer.
While I can’t be sure, and predictions are dicey at best, I’m guessing Douglas’ recent Beam Camp experience will figure largely in his memories of childhood. He came back positively glowing, and looking more beautiful than I’ve ever seen him. While we were all thrilled to see him again, I think Fynn’s expression says it all …
After packing all his luggage in the car, including many stray pieces of wood and bits of projects, he gave us a long and detailed tour of the camp, including all his favorite haunts and special shortcuts. We also got to see the flying machines he and the other campers had built, in action on their zip lines. The main project for his session was The Story of Machines that Never Flew, and the kids were divided into 6 teams with each team building a flying contraption based on famous designs that were never made, or never worked. His team built a model of a WWII glider that had a 13’ wingspan, and floated beautifully on it’s line.
He had a quiet confidence about him, and a joy in the place, the creations, and the other kids that was palpable.
One of the highlights, which I’ve yet to see pictures of, was when he got to be the one to throw a pie in the face of the camp director as part of a skit. He’d always wanted to do it (no surprise there) and was tickled pink to get the chance. I think it helped earn him his nickname of Man of the Hour.
I know he’s changed, and I love the differences I see in him. Of course he’s back to fighting with his brother, and his blithering still drives me nuts, but there are some visible shifts in how he’s handling things. He knows he’s capable of more than he thought, and has more stamina and self-awareness than a month ago. I’ll not try to make any more of it than that, but am incredibly thankful that he was given the experience of the summer at the very least, and most likely a defining month in his childhood. The childhood that’s rapidly fading into adolescence … but that’s a whole other post :).