The rising 3rd-5th grade kids in our church left for camp today. Look Up Lodge is a rite of passage and my Facebook feed is full of pictures of happy campers. I’m excited for all of them. I truly am.
But a little part of me is crying.
The little part that every now and then rebels against the reality that is my life. Because I didn’t take my rising 5th grader to Look Up Lodge this morning.
I spent the morning researching GPS tracking devices for her.
I don’t often write about Emma or about being a “special needs” parent. Mainly because most of the time, I don’t think of myself that way.
I don’t dwell on the allergy-free meals, the medications, the pullups, the therapies, the doctor visits, the IEP meetings, the underlying but ever-present frustration of having a child who cannot tell you about her day, or the uncertainty of her future.
Just reading that list is depressing. If I thought about it all the time, I’d need to be sedated.
Instead, I think about the way she yells, “Mommy!” every single time she sees me. The way she is fearless in her style. The way she insists on an upside down piggy back ride up the stairs before she goes to bed. The way she refuses to leave the house without a bow in her hair.
The way she swings with abandon and spins with joy. The way she’s obsessed with toothbrushes and Goldilocks and sign language. The way she has wrapped pretty much everyone who has ever come into contact with her around her little finger.
But last week, when she wandered from our yard and disappeared for over an hour…when I had to explain to the police that they could call for her but she might not answer…when I ran up and down the streets and barged through my neighbors’ back yards…when I watched the officer put her pillowcase in a plastic bag so the bloodhound could get her scent…
And all I wanted was the privilege of doing it for the rest of my life.
There are many more rites of passage to come. Some will sting. Some will throb. Some will leave me sobbing in the shower.
But then she will come down the stairs in her footed pajamas and she’ll yell, “Mommy!”
And it will be okay.
*Emma was safe and sound the entire time. She’d wandered into our neighbors’ home and was playing in their playroom. They were not at home, but found her when they returned to a cul-de-sac full of police cars.
We cannot ever fully express our gratitude to the family, friends, neighbors, lawn care workers, mail carriers, and police officers who joined in the search. We are so blessed.