Yep. I Cried.

That’s me on the left

The year was 1992.  I had my Umbro checked shorts, two pairs of Keds, a Saved By the Bell inspired sleeping bag, and a pillowcase my mom had sewn for me.  No worries that I didn’t really know the super-shy partner I had been assigned, thanks to a pair of inseparable besties in my GA group.  I didn’t care.  I was heading to CAMP!

It was just as glorious as all the big girls said it would be.  The songs, the mountains, the pool, taps at night, counselors that doted on us, Poptarts for breakfast…..all of it.  Unlike many girls my age, including my assigned bunk-mate, I don’t think I spent one second being homesick.  It was way too fun for that.

Summer after summer I found myself back there.  I got called Haley Mills for my Parent Trap haircut.  I learned songs that I still sing to my kids when they are dragging on a hike.  I met Jesus there.  I got my first job there.  Actually, working at camp is the only job that I’ve ever had except teaching.  I learned hard life lessons there.  I became brave there.  Eventually, during our years on full time staff, we started our family there.

So all of that to say I had some unexpected mom emotions well up in me this week as I helped Chica prepare for her first week away at overnight camp.  Something like fear mixed with sadness mixed with worry mixed with get-yourself-together-she’ll-be-fine.  I can distinctly remember my reaction to moms who stuck around just a little too long when they dropped their kids off at camp:  “When my kid gets big enough to go to camp, I will not be doing that mess.  I will drop her off and go.  Not try to make her bed for her, not cry, NOT baby her.  Moms like that just make it worse.”

Except that day came today, and it didn’t go like that exactly.  I did not make her bed, and I did not cry in front of her.  Actually, I didn’t even hug her goodbye for some reason.  But as she stood up on the steps and introduced herself to everyone, I bit my lip willing the tears not to come.  I saved them, but only until I was back in the car.  

I stared here at the cursor for a few minutes trying to think of exactly where the tears came from.  The tears came from so many places.  Thoughts of my mom getting me ready for camp and wondering if she felt all the same things.  Realization that a week will go by where I won’t remind her to brush her hair, and she’ll be just fine.  Hope that she’ll find a friend who gets her and will make the week that much more fun.  Knowing that having experiences apart from us, from me, is what growing up is made of.  Jay joked when I got home that “even stone-cold Tracy” cried.  Yep.  And I’m owning it this time.  

Have a glorious week, Chica!


The Candy Stash

There are a million other things I should be doing.  I should be unloading the dishwasher that Jay loaded last night or putting away the laundry he folded.  I should be cutting the grass I started almost a week ago or updating the website I promised someone I would work on 6 months ago.  But thanks to some unexpected efficiency, I’m done with homework approximately 5 hours early, the kids are entertained with their neighborhood buddy, and I want to do anything except what I should be doing.  So here I am.

One of my favorite things lately has been the “On This Day” Facebook button.  Nearly every time I click it, I find at least one blog post from a summer gone by, and I have the treat of remembering something that has long escaped my memory.  Yesterday I reread the story of Chica putting Bubba to sleep.  That girl continues to love on her brother who is sometimes so hard to love.  Late at night I often discover them snuggled up in bed, and she’s now the one patiently teaching him about bossy R and silent E.  She also answers his grumpy-cat “What if…” questions until he talks himself right out of being mad.  She’s a special kind of patient.

Everyday those posts from 4 years ago or 5 years ago remind me that I must keep writing, if only for my own memory.  So, today, I bring you (er….me….4 years later) the Candy Stash.

First, a few important things you should know:

I love Hot Tamales.  I also love school.  Combine the two, and I have superpowers.

I have been in school for two full years, finished one and a half extra degrees, and I’m starting on a third.  That plus working full time and being a mom and a wife….it’s ridiculous, I know.

Sometimes I get tired.  When 11pm or 12am comes, and I have 3 journal articles to read and yet another discussion question to answer, all I want to do is sleep.  But I must press into this crazy path I chose for myself.  Unfortunately I don’t like coffee.  Sorry Sarah…..I know it’s hard to believe, but I still don’t.  So it’s the Hot Tamales, and sometimes gummy worms, that get me through.  (That and 10 minute power naps with my head down on my books in front of me.  I’ve mastered it.)

Well at some point last semester our candy stash ran out.  When there aren’t Hot Tamales, I’m usually desperate enough that I’ll eat just about anything sweet that I can find.   There’s old Christmas candy, then Valentine’s candy, then I might go back to the Halloween candy that no one wanted, right before the Easter candy arrives.  But somewhere around late May our bucket ran completely dry.  In one particularly low moment of late-night writing, I ate something…ok…several somethings that Chica had been saving on her dresser.

And then she noticed.

There’s nothing quite like having to admit to your nine year old that your self control is so lacking that you stole candy that she had been saving.

“It’s ok, Mom,” eyes just this side of teary.


I don’t exactly remember how I found out, but it was genius:

She now has her own Candy Stash.

She’s hidden her special candies in a new spot in her room, and she has clearly let me know that she’s not planning to tell me where it is so that I won’t eat it all up.  Bubba’s in on the secret too.  The especially funny thing to me is that they aren’t hiding it so that they can eat it in secret.  They still ask me each time they get some.  They’re just hiding it so I won’t eat it.  Ha!

Well, I was 9 once, and I’ve cleaned her room top to bottom multiple times, so I pretty much know all of the hiding spots.  So while getting ready to write this post, I went looking to see if I could find it.  Score.

But since it’s not 11pm, AND my homework is all done, I didn’t take any.  I just left this note:


I’ll let you know when she finds it.