Friday evening I left for Maine.
I booked a room at a lovely B&B called Mill Pond Inn. Because of delays at United, I ended up checking in around 1:30am Saturday. My driver was picking me up at 9am to go to Camp Kieve. I was so restless, I ended up sneaking downstairs for a glass of Merlot before I passed out. The morning gave me my first views of Maine. Having never been to Maine before, I never realized just how rustic it is. The houses seem to be very spread out and the land is beautiful. People are nice in that small-town kind of way. Mill Pond Inn reminds me of the working farm in Virginia we vacationed at one year (Cornerstone Farms). I have never actually used the word bucolic, but it seemed extremely apropos here.
After breakfast, I headed over to the camp which was only about 12 minutes away. While I was getting my name tag, one of the counselors asked, “Are you Chase’s mom?” I guess when you’re the only Asian-ish kid at campus, they figure out who your mom is pretty quick. She followed up with, “I just love Chase. He’s an awesome kid!” I took this as a good sign.
Chase’s cabin was known as North Townsend. Of course it was located deep into the forest and I had to ask several times where it was. The longer it took for me to find it, the more anxious I began to feel. I’m usually pretty calm, but the one thing that makes me nuts is thinking I am late picking up Chase or that he’s looking for me and I am not there. It stems from my childhood, but I won’t get into that now. As I get closer to his cabin, I start looking everywhere for him and turning the corner, I glimpse him through the trees and I know he has seen me too. He has been waiting in front keeping an eye out for his momma. As soon as the path clears, I call his name and run to him. His posture shifts in a way that lets me know he is trying really hard to look “cool”, but I know better. I grab him in my arms and to my shock, I realize he is crying too. I am only slightly aware of people around us starting sentences like, “Hey Chase, is that …?” but in that moment, all that matters is I have my baby boy in my arms and I know he is safe and happy. When we finally stop hugging, others tentatively draw closer to introduce themselves and tell me what a terrific kid Chase is. I can’t help but beam, because this boy is mine.
Chase and I start walking towards the last chapel service for camp. Along the way, Chase is making introductions of other campers and counselors. It becomes obvious that Chase has become popular at camp and the respect and admiration goes both ways. I know Cliff and I have always hoped Chase would be a popular kid. I don’t want him to get full of himself over it, but I have always hoped that he would become popular for all the right reasons. As I was able to get to know the counselors better, it became so obvious that this camp was the perfect place for Chase to thrive and find acceptance. It’s so hard to believe you could find that many boys so different and yet all so kind and generous in spirit. It’s really so beautiful.
When Chase and I had a moment to ourselves, I asked him to tell me one of the things he learned about himself at camp. He replied, “I learned that if I try hard enough, I can do anything.”
That’s my son.
Until next time…