Has it really been five months already?
In the busyness of life, these many weeks have passed by in a blink of an eye. December seemed so far away back in July. Sitting here looking back, it doesn’t seem nearly as long. This is how I feel; I think the camp boys disagree.
The campers were so excited to see each other again at the Christmas party tonight. Many of them only see the others twice a year: camp and Christmas. It felt so normal, so right, to fall back into crazy games and loud talking with these kids decked out in Run Home red and blue.
The Christmas party is different, though; the boys’ families are there as well. It’s two worlds colliding-the everyday life they know and the one week of summer that they love. The dynamic is weird and it brings up some questions: what is family? Where is home?
To many of us, we can easily spout off the places we visit for Christmas. We go to our parents’ or grandparents’ houses. We spend time with with family. We go home. For most of these kids, these are more abstract concepts. They live with stepmoms and uncles and half siblings. They might be passed around from relative to relative, foster home to foster home. Going home for the holidays isn’t something many of these boys think about in the same way that I might. They probably don’t get many presents or have lots of traditions.
Camp changes all of that. Even though it was only a week, we became a family. That baseball field becomes a second home, one that might be better than their first. When you think about it like this, how could there not be a Run Home Christmas party? That’s what family does this time of year.
I loved seeing the boys and their siblings open their presents. They were thrilled about every little thing they received. I loved their reactions to the video filled with pictures from their week at camp. I loved eating dinner with them and meeting their other families. My favorite part of the night, though? Just getting to talk to and spend time with these amazing boys for a couple of hours. I’ve missed them a lot.
One of the boys at my table for supper summed it up pretty well. “Why aren’t you eating with your family?” I asked him, nodding toward the table where his siblings and mom were sitting. He was completely serious as he replied, “I am sitting with my family.” The feeling’s mutual; I love all of these guys. Merry Christmas.