It was such an innocent statement but so very true.
“So, you’re married to God?”
We were on our way to Baskin Robbins for a quick Camp AJ moment. I was trying to delicately explain how some women get older and experience crazy changes in their bodies and that’s why I’d had to cancel our big day at the park the week before. But the boy is just barely 11 years old and doesn’t know the depth of differences in girls and boys. He doesn’t understand how “that time of the month” can wreak havoc on a girl. I did my best to explain without really explaining, and eventually settled on the fact that women get older and their bodies experience all kinds of crazy things on the inside and then they can no longer carry babies. Which is what had been going on with me throughout the summer.
“But you didn’t have a baby yet,” he interjected.
“No, I didn’t,” I replied, “And I won’t ever have one. You’re the last of the grandkids.”
Then in his matter-of-fact manner he asked (not for the first time), “Why won’t you have a baby?”
I answered, “Because I didn’t want to have a baby without being married, and I never knew anyone that I wanted to marry.”
And then he answered his own question. “So, you’re married to God?”
I smiled. “”Yes, that’s exactly right. Sometimes God has plans for people that don’t include getting married and being a parent. I knew a long time ago that’s what God wanted for me.”
The boy’s questions continued as we drove to our destination — the questions always continue — and we talked of how Jesus is called the bridegroom and those of us who believe in Him are His bride, the Church. And we talked about how much I want to be well again and how hard it is for me to live with so many health problems. I told him how much I hate to cancel plans with him.
He doesn’t really understand, of course, and I don’t expect it of him. I just do my best, as much as I can, and I pray that the days of disappointment will be lost to time and his memories will be full of the moments we get to share.
I suspect there will be a day when I’m not living 15 minutes away and we won’t see each other every week. There might be a time when I’m half a country (or half a world) away. So I want these days to count for a lifetime, and I want him to know that God does awesome things in people’s lives. Even when some years seem empty. Even when every day is a challenge just to sit upright. I want him to remember our honest conversations and our great friendship.
And I want the boy to love our God. The same God who kept me for Himself.
Throughout this month I’m participating in 31 Days, a challenge issued by The Nester to post on your blog each day in October. If you’ve missed any of my 31-day Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also receive new posts via email by completing the form below.
This is part 4 of the untold story of Camp AJ. If you missed the earlier posts, you can find them on the index page of “31 Days of Blogging Catch-Up”.
After Camp AJ 2012 was such a great success I wanted to do it again for The Dyl this past summer. This time wouldn’t be as busy or as often, but I tried to plan a few special days throughout the summer for just him and me to enjoy hanging out together. Some of my plans succeeded and some failed miserably, but we were able to do a few fun things before school began again. He’s in middle school now, so I doubt we’ll have another true Camp AJ summer, but what makes it so great is that the activities aren’t as important as the attention he receives from me. I think that’s what Dyl likes so much anyway. As long as that continues, I’ll be happy to provide more Camp AJ moments in the future.
Since our schedule had to be open-ended this summer, I created postcards for Dyl to inform him of upcoming Camp AJ activities. This summer included a visit to a new car wash location (always D’s favorite) as well as a movie and outings for dessert: Molten Chocolate Cake at Chili’s and $1 scoops at Baskin Robbins. We began the summer with BookCrossing – releasing books “into the wild” – and thus accomplished my personal task of purging many books from storage. Even the little things can be lots of fun with The Dyl.
One of Dyl’s favorite activities of all time is visiting car washes. He loves to watch the brushes spin, and each time I take him we try to find new locations. He also takes photos every chance he gets. So one of our “big” activities of Camp AJ 2013 was visiting a car wash that featured windows inside the walls. Not only could we drive through the car wash but D was able to watch other cars drive through! He stood at the windows for half an hour and took dozens of photos of the car wash process. It is so fascinating to him and never fails to make him happy. I love that car washes are a guaranteed winner when planning activities for The Dyl.
I love his photos, too! Other than the first ones with him in the shot, each of these car wash photos were taken by the boy himself.
Camp AJ stories are now complete, but there are more untold stories to come on phrenetical this week. If you’ve missed any of this month’s Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also subscribe to receive new posts via email. Just complete the form below.
When I first envisioned Camp AJ I knew there would be a reading challenge for The Dyl. He does like to read at times, but he was struggling with comprehension during 4th grade. There was no question that he would need to read throughout the summer to maintain his skills, so I knew I had to make it fun for him, too. I created a rewards chart in the shape of a thermometer and marked off 15 minute increments. For each 150 minutes D read he would receive a reward of some kind. His goal for the summer was 600 minutes, at which point he would have 4 rewards from me as well as a reward book from both Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books. Reading became a mainstay in every Camp AJ day.
D’s mom helped me with rewards based on his tastes and recent “wants”, then I took care of all the legwork to make them happen as he earned them. Along the way Dyl would color in the thermometer chart for each amount of reading he accomplished, and he also added the book titles to the chart so we had a record of his summer books. Of the 4 rewards his favorite was a visit to the pirate ship sno-cone stand. There’s nothing more fun than visiting a pirate ship on the side of the road! No matter what else he worked for, the pirate ship was a highlight of his summer.
For the final day of Camp AJ 2012, Dyl requested a sleepover at my apartment. Naturally, the sleepover had to begin in late afternoon so there was plenty of time for spontaneous activities. I let him plan the whole evening, though, and his requests were simple: pizza, night swimming, and staying up as late as he wanted. No problem! But I did add one more art project – a framed memory collage of his summer. We chose photos of all the things he’d enjoyed over the months, and I created a little pipe cleaner sculpture to resemble the one at the Dallas Museum of Art. It’s such a great memento for Dyl, and he still has it hanging on his bedroom wall. When the summer ended, he had a heart full of memories to share.
Join me again tomorrow for the story of this summer’s Camp AJ. If you’ve missed any of this month’s Blogging Catch-Up, you can see a list of the posts on this index page. You can also subscribe to phrenetical and receive new posts via email. Just complete the form below.