When I think of you at camp, I smile. Because I know you are having a blast. You are outside playing ball, shooting guns and arrows, swinging a golf club, playing guitar, climbing a 75 foot wall, ziplining down, popping up on one ski, competing aggressively against rival camps, making friends, and creating memories. And dare I say? You are even having a few emotional moments. You are so in the moment of camp, and I know you let the tears spill over once in awhile, but we won't talk about that. Because we don't need to. You keep those special moments to yourself, and only share them when you want to, and with the right person or people. Like those new friends of yours on the last night of camp. Let 'er rip, buddy.
When we went to Confirmation Camp over visiting weekend, it was the best time I've spent with you since I used to rock you to sleep at two in the morning when you were a baby. See, over the years we both have grown up, but the long drawn out moments together are few and far between. So spending ten hours in the car with you over 36 hours was, I'll admit, a bit intimidating at first. What would we talk about? Would you ignore me over your phone, texting with your friends from home who you missed terribly over the past four weeks?
You asked me if you could play music. I agreed. I loved your song selections. They are just like you - laid back, all over the board, still searching for a niche. A little bit of everything. And we'll keep the fact that we both bopped along to country music a secret from your sister.
We rode in silence for quite some time. I actually thought it felt a bit awkward - what does the 41 year old mother say to her 13 year old son? We'd already caught up on all the specifics of camp, and you knew what had been going on with me since I write to you every day. So what's left?
Plenty. We talked about the upcoming changes we are going to make in our diet as a family. We talked about extended family members. You talked incessantly about the fun you had at the Dells with your camp friends and the insanity called Scorpion's Tail which I WILL NEVER RIDE! We talked about Kahley and Dad. We missed them together. But we also commented about every interesting thing we saw on our drive.
And you played more music. Great tunes that had us both singing at the top of our lungs to the classics and the current top hits. You played my requests, you introduced me to your current faves. We had fun.
When we got to Walcamp, for your final year of Confirmation Camp, you did not ditch me for your friends. On the contrary - very soon after we arrived, you came up to me and gave me a huge hug. In front of everyone. Just because.
Do you have any idea how that melts me?
Our ride home proved even more entertaining. Already relaxed and in the groove, we created a game plan whereby you would take a picture of anything interesting along the way. Yes, this was primarily my idea, but again, you softened my heart with your simple comment, about 2.5 hours into our drive:
"This is so much fun, Mom. Good idea."
Your simple, sweet way is what I love most about you. Keep that. Stay who your are.
I recently sent you a special letter at camp. You know the one. It has no greeting, and no closing. It simply contains the lyrics to Lynyrd Skynryd's Simple Man.
Be a simple kind of man.
Oh be something you'll love and understand.
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh won't you do this, for me son, if you can?
...and don't forget son, there's someone up above.
And that is my lifelong, ultimate wish for you, Jake. All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied.
Now onto your mad photography skills. Which, yes, you are right, are quite good considering we were traveling at speeds anywhere from 15 to 75 mph and you took the majority of these out of a bug-slathered window. Well done, my boy! There's no way I can post all 163 images, but here are some of my favorites.
One of the first pictures you snapped - we weren't even out of Illinois yet! Farmer Bill and Farmer Ted just shooting the breeze on a sunshiny Sunday morning.
And the final barn and shed we saw - which was so beautiful we had to stop so you could get a great photo. Love this!
and provided a welcome distraction and photo op.
I love the names, too. Hitchin' Rail and Long Branch. Good, solid bar names.
I suspect this reminded you of a certain Bates Motel? No. We are not staying here. Ever.
Club X to C.
Ecstasy? As in, the drug? Adult Entertainment? Sheer, mindless bliss?
No. The intersection of Roads X and C. Of course.
I do like small town cemeteries. There's something so quaint and peaceful about them.
Until then, keep having the time of your life!