Ah. Ferry Beach. Our ninth year at our divine Unitarian Universalist camp. The theme for the week was compassion, and I took a class on being a differentiated spiritual leader, which begins in compassion. I don’t know what mythankfulboy got of the message of compassion, but I don’t worry a bit about it because of all the other things he brings home with him.
Before the trip, at our nightly chalice lightings, B was thankful that the trip was coming. Then he was thankful that we were there, and for his and our friends. He feels very valued by my adult friends there, and elevated to an almost equal status (my interpretation of his words). We were thankful that our friend CB was going to make an appearance when there had been a chance she wouldn’t, then we were thankful she was there, and then we were thankful we’d had time with her and would see her soon when she will travel through our area. We were also thankful that our friend KS, with CH and JSH, made it after foot surgery and on a kneeling scooter; I don’t know what we would have done if they had simply not made it to Ferry Beach. B was thankful that he could have so much freedom; I was thankful that I had so much freedom, too, although I did miss the bugger. I was thankful to be able to attend a moving and enlightening class with people I trusted. B was thankful that I brought things that made our room comfortable, and that I took him the day of arrival north of camp for a haircut at a wicked cool barber. We were thankful for good weather and cool nights, and B was thankful that JSH got to sleep over.
On the way home we took a side trip to Mystic, CT and had a lovely day there, as well. Then home to the usual craziness of laundry and putting things away and getting back in the swing of things. B leaves day-after-tomorrow for a week, and last night when I picked him up at his dad’s after work, we got in the car and we started laughing almost immediately about something I’ve now forgotten. I’m sure it wasn’t much of anything. When we quieted down a bit, he turned to me and said, “I missed you today.” I was surprised – I’d worked a long day, but that’s not uncommon. He went on to say, “Sometimes, when you pick me up from my dad’s, I say, “Hey mom”, but I’m thinking, “I’m so glad she’s here!” I answered, “That’s funny, because I feel the same way, but I’d never really thought about it to put it into words.” He said, “I know – I can see it on your face. It’s like when I was little and I used to run and hug you when you picked me up from daycare.”
Now, this is a second reference to when he was little from this trip. The first came when the tattooed, pierced, gentleman who cut his hair said to him, “Dude – you’ve got more facial hair than I do!” (A slight exaggeration, but B is 13 now, and there’s a faint moustache…) When we got in the car, B took a picture of his upper lip with my phone and stared at it a second before saying, “He’s right!” Being the sensitive momma that I am, I said, playfully, “Yeah – when are you gonna shave that thing off?” At that point, he turned to look at me and said with real emotion, “This is my childhood we’re talking about.” Well, that wiped the smile off of my face. I said, “I guess it is, isn’t it?”
Being in a beautiful place like Ferry Beach, where the big kids play and model loving values for the little kids, the little kids follow the big kids like puppy dogs, and the medium kids, like B, are in the middle, learning to be big kids and figuring out how to let go of being little kids, there is a sense of safety to be in this in-between place. It’s a time when I can watch him from a distance, from a new angle. It’s a time I can ask for and compassionately get feedback on being where I am with this growing boy from parents I respect with older, even grown, children. I’m very, very, thankful for the gift of a place to be safe and comfortable and known and valued, and for my son to know that such a place can exist. I’m grateful for another year at Ferry Beach.