Never Forget

I realised something today. I realised that I’m part of the group of the youngest people to remember what they were doing on the morning of September 11th 2001. I was only 7 years old.

Mom had a La Leche League meeting and we had gotten up early to make the hour drive to the larger city where her group was. She got a call on her cell phone from my dad and pulled into a bank parking lot. I’m not sure if she was crying or not,57931_464783596387_4036277_n but she was scared. Dad told her to withdraw some cash and fill the minivan with gas. Everything was in chaos. The lines at every gas station were mind bogglingly long, and it seems like some stations were running out of fuel. My dad was in the National Guard at the time. I was terrified that he would have to go to New York or Washington, or go fight the bad guys somewhere else. I didn’t want to lose him. Come to think of it, from then until a little while after he retired, that was probably my greatest fear. That dad would get called away and killed.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to go to New York City with my aunt and uncle. We were only there for a few days, but got to go to the beach, see the Statue of Liberty, and walk through the 9/11 Museum. It was one of the most soul shaking experiences I’ve ever had. Reading things kids my age had written about losing their parents. Seeing case after case of things pulled from the rubble. At one point there was an entire wall filled with paper cranes folded by school children in Japan as a wish for peace. We had gone to several war memorials in DC, but I wasn’t alive for any of those wars. Sure, my granddad fought in the Korean war. He once came back on deck of his battleship to find his seat full of shrapnel.  If he hadn’t gotten up, my mom would have never been born. But as real as that is, it’s still just a story to me. 9/11 is personal. Those weren’t lives lost in history. They were lives I could have known. Souls I could have come in contact with at some point in my life.

It’s my dream to go back to New York one day. It’s an amazing city. There are plenty of things I want to see. Touristy things, not so touristy things. But someday, I want to go to the memorial and just sit for a while. And remember.

Camp, Musings, Pictures

Re-assimilating; Notes From a First Year Counselor, Part Three: Brand Spanking New

Previous Posts:

Part One: Poisoned by Sol

Part Two: Return of the Ninjas (One of the lovely ladies from camp had a longer clip of Ninja Guard! View Here)

The hardest part about being the newbie on staff is the staff. Everyone already knows each other and has relationships, and here you are. Brand spanking new. I just realized where that term came from! DSCF0375 When babies were born they used to spank them to get them crying, which in turn opens up their airways and kick-starts breathing. While I don’t particularly agree with this practice (doesn’t sound very helpful to me, but what do I know?), this is a great metaphor for how it felt. A small shock after the arduous journey, but still enough to wake you up with a start. DSCF0278

As a camper it’s not hard to know the names of most of the staff, especially the “top dogs”. You look up to them and remember what they say. But as staff you may not remember every camper’s name. There are a lot more of them than you. Coming from being a camper to being on staff was really different. Even with CILT there really is no way to fully prepare. It was really hard for me to get used to being, not necessarily peer level, but working together with these ladies who you look up to as role models. You feel like you know them, but they really don’t know you at all.DSCF0353

It’s like going from standing on the deck of the pool to diving in. Looking down you can see everyone clearly, in fact you are watching them. They are doing their own thing down in the water; aware of your presence as part of the group on deck, but not really you individually. When you jump in you are suddenly no longer part of the group on deck, you are down in the water. The others have been swimming longer, so they already have their routines, but you are just getting started. Are you going to do laps, or are you just going to splash around? You may swim up and start chatting with a group, but you are coming in half way through the conversation.DSCF0251

Some of the staff remembered me from my years as a camper, even though those years were few. There were times when I was having trouble keeping a kind, happy face. Talking with them always helped. Hearing about when they were in the same spot of being the baby. Listening to things that were happening in their lives, things that they remember about me, things that they observed me do with the girls. I’m not sure if any of them really know how much it means to me. I’m often forgotten, it seems. Sometimes I feel like a stalker or a spy. I’ll remember something someone said, and they have no idea who I am. I think this will come in handy someday. It’s very useful at camp. DSCF0236

You have a short amount of time to learn and mesh. Remembering about a girl can make or break the relationship. Not just her name, but specific events, things you share. Like, I remember sitting in a canoe for an hour talking with my counselor. I remember walks up from the pond and who said what. I remember walking to the nurses cabin for a late night headache and what we talked about, and even in the dark the facial expressions. From the position of staff it’s easy to get the mindset of the campers being a  mass. You have to remember that they are individuals, created in the likeness of God and equal with you where it really matters. From the position of a camper it means the world to me if you remember me. I look up to as a role model of what it means to be a woman of God, an expert fire builder, the glue gun guru, or just a really awesome person.


Be careful.

They are watching.

They are learning.

They want your affirmation.