Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Diagnosis: Carpel Tunnel Thumb Syndrome. The knuckle of my thumb still aches. I kept my cell phone in my hand all weekend except when I was sleeping, often using my thumb to flip up the cover and make sure I hadn’t missed any calls.
Why? The boy went to a three day church camp. He’s been at sleepovers and I have left him with relatives and very close friends for weekend jaunts, but this was different. Besides the Children’s pastor and his wife, Noah and John and I knew no one else that was attending. But he still wanted to go.
“Noah, you are telling me you want to go somewhere for four days and three nights and you won’t know anyone or have any friends when you get there?”
To me, it was insanity. No way would I ever go somewhere as a kid without a buddy. No way. It was social suicide.
“Mom, I will make friends when I get there.”
Confidently spoken, his words gave my heart little assurance. He just didn’t know what I did. He didn’t know that if you are a loner, you are targeted by child abusers. He didn’t know that a million different little things could go horribly wrong and this could be the most tragic weekend of his life. He didn’t know that he could end up lonely and bawling in his sleeping bag. He didn’t know that at nine-years-old, he still needed me with him.
I looked at John, hoping for a little support. Surely, HE knew.
“Sounds great, Noah. You will have a blast.”
And there it was. We signed him up and began planning. John pointed out to me that the weekend of Noah’s camp was our 12th anniversary.
“Woo hoo!” He said “Great coincidence, don’t you think?”
“Yes. I guess.” I was still counting the things that could possibly go wrong during Noah’s camping experience.
Last Friday, the three of us took the forty-five mile trip to the camp. My mornings leading up to the drop off had been intense times of pleading with God.
“Please, take care of him. Please.”
“No, really, please take care of him.”
“Yep. I will.”
“God, I am begging you…”
You get the drift.
In addition, I called the Children’s Pastor a dozen times with all sorts of questions, including the name of his counselor and what precautions were used to check the guy out.
The Friday morning of camp, God reminded me of a verse I memorized years back during my Horizon High School teaching days. I inserted Noah’s name into it.
“Fear not, for I am with Noah. Be not dismayed for I am Noah’s God. I will strengthen Noah. Yes, I will help Noah. I will keep Noah in My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
We drove up to his cabin and got out his stuff. John led the way and we entered his cabin, already full of his 10 cabin mates.
“You must be Noah.” A man with a huge smile and compassionate eyes greeted my son with a handshake. “I’m Mr. Darcy and we have one bunk left with your name on it.”
Relief, joy, panic, and great love for my boy cascaded into heart filling it to the brim. So much so, that the emotions overflowed through my tear ducts.
John and Noah began putting his gear into place and I stood watching, waiting to die a slow painful death. Maybe I could just melt right there like the Wicked Witch. I could be a spot of green goop on the floor. At least I’d be near Noah.
“Are you Noah’s mom?”
I came back up for air and noticed Mr. Darcy looking at me.
“It’s his first time.” I couldn’t speak above a whisper. “Please take care of him.”
With that, I left the room and went outside. I didn’t want Noah to see me crying. But he had seen me. The emotional connection between us caused him to tear up, too. John worked hard and fast to deal with both of us and then get me the heck outta Dodge before I started wailing out loud and declaring my love for each boy and their family, while announcing I wouldn’t be a bother and I could just sleep on the floor.
In the car, my tears became a geyser of fear and hope and love. John pet me like a little puppy who’d been stung by a bee.
“It’s okay, Robbie. He’ll be fine.”
“Let’s pray, John.” Through my sobs, I once again asked God to take care of the boy.
“Amen.” I looked to my husband, my rock. This would be a great moment for him to soothe me with compassion and timeless wisdom.
He grinned and said, “Robbie, by now Noah can’t even remember our names.”
John and I had a great weekend hanging out and celebrating our marriage. The only sign of my unending Noah-worry was a cell phone and a throbbing thumb.
When I picked him up, my son was unscathed and happy, bursting with details like a popcorn machine in the back seat of the car.
“I want to go back next year.”
“God took my fear of heights and I did the zip line. It was so much fun!”
“One night we walked around the girls’ cabin singing, ‘I’m a goofy goober, you’re a goofy goober!”
“We learned about treasures and if you have a treasure on earth that means more than God, that’s a stupid thing to do.”
“I liked Chatain the best but I hung out with a lot of friends. They were all nice.”
“Did Scooby miss me?”
Then he fell asleep and fell over in the backseat. Happiness and relief caused me to toss my cell phone deep into my purse.
My thumb still hurts. But God once again extended mercy toward my emotional heart. He took great, loving care of my boy and gave him an adventure.
He also took care of me.
“Fear not, Robbie, I am with you. Be not dismayed for I am your God! I will strengthen you, Robbie. Yes, I will help you. I will keep you, Robbie, in my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10