“How will I know?” the girl hung spectacled green eyes on me. Teeth aglitter with pastel-colored braces bit her lower lip. “What if I wait till it’s too late?”
It was decision time for Summer Camp and she was fretting.
Should she go to the same camp she’d gone to twice already, the camp her cousin goes to, and where several of her classmates will be? She loved it there. It was familiar. It was only three hours away from home. There was a lake and zip-lines and horseback riding. She was going to choose her best friend from last summer as a bunk-mate. It felt like another home.
Or … should she go to the other camp … the one she’d heard of last year but by then already had no openings? The science camp sounded like everything she’d ever want … but now the choice – and possible consequences – became real. That camp was half-way across the continent. It was on a campus, not in a forest. There’d be no one there she knows.
“My friends say I’m crazy because who wants school when there’s finally no school,” she sighed. Her finger twirled the edge of an auburn lock. Twist, hold, release; twist, hold, release. I thought of how the movement mirrored her dilemma … To hold on or to let go, to keep close or to let loose.
A difficult concept at any age, let alone at eleven.
“Hmm …” I noted. It wasn’t my input this child needed, just my ear.
“It’s not like school!” she stressed, a bit defensively. “It’s interesting! Also, they have summer camp activities. A pool, and trips, even arts and crafts. … Well, the crafts are more like, robotics and such, but that’s still crafting stuff, isn’t it?”
She took a deeper breath. “And I like science … They have a whole week about space. We’ll even get to visit a real observatory!” Her eyes shone as if they were already reflecting several constellations, and she sat straighter. Then she sagged. “But I don’t know anyone.”
“Not yet,” I noted. “I gather this won’t last.”
The auburn curl twirled, corked, released. “Yeah … There were a lot of kids I didn’t know in the other camp, especially the first time. But …” the big green eyes widened as the core of doubt unmasked. “What if everyone there is, you know, dorks and nerds and such?”
My eyebrows rose, amused. “And if they are? …”
She frowned but then a pastel-braces grin appeared. “Well … then I’ll fit right in…”
For The Daily Post