I mentioned here that Gabe has a little bit of anxierty about sleeping away from home.
This year, we really have encouraged him to get out of his comfort zone and participate in some overnight trips. He went successfully to his school overnight trip, so we encouraged him to go to YM camp.
Although hesitant, he agreed to go. He actually got a little bit excited when Rob took him to buy some supplies, including a cool swiss army knife. We also got him a ton of snacks:) All the other kids were so jealous and desperately wishing they were going.
He boarded the bus and was on his way. He borrowed a leader’s phone that first night and made a quick phone call home to check in and get a little comfort too. Unfortunately that night it started to rain.
Apparently it rained and rained and rained.
Gabe called Rob in a bit of a panic in the morning. I think the grey skies and rain made him even more anxious. Rob was able to speak with him and calm him down a bit and encouraged him to get involved.
A few hours later Rob got another call. One of the leaders was heading home – stating it was really rainy and yucky – and he had to work anyways. So, this leader was going to bring Gabe home early.
What to do? Rob struggled with what to say to this leader. He really wanted Gabe to stick it out and stay. He felt that he wanted Gabe to experience doing a hard thing, and felt that his confidence would be built up and he would feel so good if he did stick it out.
But, could he just tell the leader, “Forget it. You tell my son, who is clearly upset and nervous, that he has to stay”. In the moment, you worry about what they will think of you as a parent, worry about if your child really is ok, and don’t really know the best decision.
So, Gabe came home.
In hindsight, not the decision we would ever make again.
We spoke with the YM President a couple of days later, who had been at the camp the whole time. He told us how great it was to have Gabe at camp and what a great addition he was to the group. He knew Gabe had struggled while he was there for the 1 night. He understood that the rain was really bad and that probably really influenced how Gabe was feeling. He said Gabe had promised that next year he would stay – the whole time (next year Zach will be going too so that will make it easier).
He also said he had woken up the next morning to beautiful blue skies that remained for the rest of camp. He said he thought to himself, “I wish Gabe had just stayed a little longer. He would have then experienced the blue skies”.
He then went on to say how in life we often experience dreary skies, clouds, lots of rain and storms. However, the blue skies always come. If we can just hang on through the storms, we will see the blue skies.
Quite a lesson. Endure to the end. Hang on. The blue skies are coming. We can get through the storms of life as long as we never give up.