Saturday, June 21, 2008

"I Got My Baby Back, Baby Back, Baby Back..."

Well, we finally got Carter back! He's been away at the LDS Scout Camp at Camp Shands all this past week. They left right after church on Sunday (which I raised a stern eyebrow at), and just returned this past Saturday afternoon. This was a long and slightly lonely week for me! I've gotten used to having him home now for the summer, and I found myself a little bored during the day without anybody around to crack a sarcastic joke to! (Somehow, the crazy/funny stuff the little ones do is crazier and funnier when Carter's around to roll his eyes about it with me.) And who else is there that will do something as zany as, while Quinn runs in to grab his car keys, hop on top of the van and stand there in "karate kid" pose, just to crack us up?!?

I know that such absences are really just the beginning of the end... Carter will be fourteen before we know it, then driving and dating and gone all the time, then off to college and a mission and... this really freaks me out! I'm not done with him yet!

This point was further driven home when my dear friend from Hawaii, Kelly, emailed me a recent picture of her kids. I couldn't believe how GROWN UP they are! And this was particularly weird to me because her son, Caleb, has always been just a few years older than Carter, so I would look to him and Makana as my guides for what would be coming up for me around the corner with Carter. (For example, when Caleb started Scouts, I would listen closely to Kelly as she talked about all that this entailed because I knew that in just a bit I'd be going through the same thing with Carter.)

Funny... it seems like just yesterday that I parked our white minivan outside the playground at the elementary school in Virginia where he began afternoon kindergarten. I waited (with toddler Taylor strapped in, and growing impatient as the minutes ticked on) simply because I HAD to see my little guy playing at recess. I HAD to make sure that the other kids were being nice to him- that somebody was playing with him, and that he wasn't sad without me.

He wasn't sad without me. As is his way, he had a throng of new little buddies and didn't even look my direction. But seeing him throw a ball around with a grin was enough to steady my overprotective heart. We drove home.
Only to come back again the next day at the same time to make sure that the first day wasn't a happy fluke.

It wasn't. And, frankly, I'm lucky that I wasn't pulled into the police station (conveniently located across the street) for questioning because I'm sure I looked like a real weirdo stalker, parked out in front of an elementary school playground like that.

And so I am reminded of that famous Elizabeth Stone quote: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” For a control freak like me, I am very uncomfortable with my heart walking around outside my body, beyond the scope of my control.

And the older they get, the more that heart walks around outside of your presence! Carter is one busy kid with all the stuff he's involved in, so often I feel like that part of my heart is running- not walking- around all over the place without me!

Quinn and Carter were wise in not telling me much about Scout Camp until we'd already paid and had him packed to go. You see, Carter signed up for the following merit badges: canoeing (in a lake that is sure to have alligators), life-saving (same lake, same alligators), water-skiing (again with the alligators), and... SHOTGUN SHOOTING. Are you kidding me? Who puts a gun in the hands of a thirteen-year-old and teaches him how to shoot it without me around to wring my hands in worry and dismay?!?!? This was most certainly not my idea.

So on top of me worrying about the alligators and, uh, bullets (is that what they use in shotguns? or is it shells?) On top of those worries, I missed the little guy and found myself singing along to that old Chili's Babyback Ribs song... you know the one: "I want my baby back baby back baby back, I want my baby back baby back baby back.")

Well he came back in one piece- stinky and tired and loaded down with a ton of dirty laundry. He came back full of interesting tales of shotguns and up-close encounters with alligators. (Be still my heart!) And he came back, happy to be home but excited, of course, for his next adventure. (Sigh.)


Bethany said...

Kelly I just can't imagine the horror when Taylor is older and able to go places without you. Will you worry more for her (because she's a girl) or is it because Carter's the firstborn?
Love reading your blog by the way!

Julie Konchar said...

That boy is one of my favorites. I know what you mean about missing them, and then not so much. Why do our children have to grow? I just put Tommy outside in the back yard with his newest, coolest thing ever: A two wheeler! (plus training wheels, of course) It seemed like such a good idea this morning at Wal-Mart, but once he got on and pedaled away, I have to admit I was sad. His trike was fun to watch him get the hang of. This bike is a whole different thing.
Thanks for the well-timed advice on cell phone usage among the 12-13 year old set. How is it you always seem to have the very info I need, just when I need it? Uncanny!
Enjoy that adorable boy of yours (plus all the others) and know that kids are growing up way too fast over here at Joonie's house too.

TNIRYAN said...

At my junior high school in Idaho, we had a Hunter's Ed class. Seems weird to me now, but I though nothing of it at the time. I guess since a lot of boys were likely to be going out hunting with their dads, the school felt they ought to take it upon themselves to teach them properly.

And I just recently looked under Bruce R. McConkie's definition of the Sabbath in Mormon Doctrine. If my ward ever schedules a camping excursion that leaves right after church, they are probably going to get an earful from me. That is NOT cool!

Julie Konchar said...

Oh, I totally forgot something! When Matt and Christian were at a similar scout camp as youth in California (minus the alligators, thankfully), they also were signed up for shotgun shooting. Lucky for them, the leader in charge of this class had a mild speach impediment and so they spent their time "sotgun sooting", if you can believe that. I think they found talking about sotguns and sooting even more enjoyable than actually sooting said sotguns. I know how much joy I myself derive from this little scout story!

Judy Ryan said...

Sit down, girl. Get ready for the day some little girl shows up at your door with a ring (like Quinn did to me) and an airline ticket to take him to meet her family and you realize's all over. Man, that was hard. Of course, the good news is that they never really go away, it's never really over, and the kid with the ring becomes something close to equally special to you.

Kelly B said...

hey everybody, I finally have a blog! check it out at

Rachel said...

Carter always has and always will hold a special place in my heart. Ever since the "GIVE ME PERMISSION" tantrum in Hawaii, and even before that making snowflakes in Virginia. He is, quite simply, an amazing kid!

Peter has always reminded me a bit of Carter; I should only be so lucky as to have him adopt some of Carter's characteristics. And he starts Kindergarten in the fall. NOT COOL!

Rustle that great head of hair for me, ok? Love you and miss you!