July 31, 2020
With a week left in camp, I am at a loss to know what to write about.
Usually, I share thoughts on how campers can bring their “camp selves” to their schools. I also reflect on the pending transition of our property from summer camp to Outdoor School (an outdoor education program).
We are normally helping our international counselors plan their trips around the US before their summer visas expire – taking advantage of the offered lodgings from fellow counselors and camp families.
But none of that is happening.
I know that our campers will return to classes eventually, but I know not when. We will still extol them to be brave and strong; kind and loving, but we are not sure in what context they will be practicing these skills.
We will not have schools joining the Outdoor School this fall.
Susie Ma’am and I will be sending our youngest, Virginia, to her Freshman year at Rice, but will be allowed only 2 hours on campus to facilitate the handoff. Beyond that, we will not be traveling or visiting relatives.
All this uncertainty has the odd effect of focusing my thoughts on a simple question:
“What do we want to be able to say about ourselves 5 or 10 years from now?”
I know I do not want to remember feeling sorry for myself or embracing frustration. I think I need to “lean into” uncertainty. Maybe this is a lesson in intellectual humility. I need to let go of my desire to know what will happen and to manage outcomes. Rather than strive, perhaps I should appreciate.
In the Spring, Susie Ma’am and I had some moments of beauty and clarity. We watched some sunsets and shared some wine. [Note: no one at camp drinks at all during the camp season, but we do appreciate sharing a nice wine together the rest of the year.] When Covid struck, all of our children (23, 23, 22 and 19) were forced to return home from college, a Junior year abroad and a nannying job in Spain (gap year). While they were sad to have those experiences shortened, as a family, we rejoiced in the additional time together – an unexpected encore that will remain one of my fondest memories with our now adult children.
I think the lesson for me is to be worry less about tomorrow and simply be present now. Trade certainty for awe, knowledge for beauty.
I suspect I will fall short of these aspirations, but I know that I will get a lot of practice. I cannot change the world, but I can choose to find its joys.
Here’s hoping I get better at it.