What happens at Deer Run ...

Well, not really. Deer Run stays here in our hearts. Giles just returned from his second year at Camp Deer Run, a one week "overnight" church camp in E. Texas ... five hours away. 

Last year we left him and came home. Besides being that far away from my "baby," it's a brutal trip - there and back Sunday and there and back on Friday. 

This year, his brilliant mother, and two brilliant mom peeps had the idea we'd stay down there all week in a cabin and let our younger ones go to the day camp. Down Sunday. Back Friday. The only caveat was having to drive the church van. But that was no big ... even with a tire blow out! (What was that boom and why do we hear air blowing? Let's just say three women and 17 kids CAN git r done, thanks to the wonderful folks in Antlers, OK.)

To say that Giles LOVES this camp would be a huge understatement. He dreams it. Relives it. And talks about it every single day. He could not wait.

When we got there, I parked while he got his cabin assignment. Once he found out he was NOT in a cabin with the other guys from our group, he gave a big shout out and raced off to his cabin where he knew no one. 

The moms ran the circuit of settling all of our kids in, making bunks, greeting counselors, praying and hugging. (btw - it was about 100 degrees.)

When I got to Giles' cabin, I offered to make his bunk and settle him in. NO. 

I was shewed away. 

I barely got a hug and a "see ya"out of him.

This could have been hard on a mom's heart. Uh, it was a little hard on this mom's heart. 

But as I was about to let myself have a pity party, I had an overwhelming sense of peace.

"Your son is independent. He is secure. He has courage. He LOVES his parents. He loves God. Give him this week. He is going to be a MAN."

On pick up Friday, in heavy rain ... all (except one) of our kids were waiting to go home. Hugs for us, their transport to their waiting parents. Ready.

We were nearly loaded ... and entirely soaked in the rain. Giles was MIA.

I found him in the mess hall. Sitting in a corner with a few new BFFs (Texans, even). They were tattooing each other with their phone numbers on skin and tshirts.

He was fighting tears after I told him it was time.

On the bus, driving away, Giles was so quiet and let the tears fall. I heard one kid say he couldn't wait to get home and feed his video game addiction. Another one couldn't wait to get his cell phone back, and his bed.

I had a flashback to 1987 when Stan and I were on a plane leaving Paris and headed back home after a fantastic semester traveling in Europe with a group from college (yes, we got credit!) All of our compatriots were jubilant. Home. America. McDonalds. Baseball. 

Stan and I cried. We knew it was over. 

Precious boy. Live it. Soak it in. And we'll figure out how to get you there for two weeks next year!

But as a little payback, I am posting this dork picture of him. On Wednesday night, we visited camp for a community worship service. We got lots of hugs from our campers ... but had to FORCE Giles to take this picture with us.


  1. "Your son is independent. He is secure. He has courage. He LOVES his parents. He loves God. Give him this week. He is going to be a MAN."

    Totally started crying when I read this, oh my gosh they are going to be MEN! That's it, I am going to go pick up my sleeping baby boys and rock them a little right now, just because I can.

    Oh, and the knowing it was over thing...wished I would have got that. Sometimes I am still not sure I get that it is over, took all that time for granted. :(