Monday, July 30, 2012

Coming Home Again

I've never seen a preteen eat a dinner with such ferocity as I saw Luke last night. "Real food!" he exclaimed, as Grandma Nancy put on a big spread of chicken on the grill (BBQ-style), fresh tomatoes with basil, green beans w/garlic cooked on the grill, and corn on the cob, hard to come by at the Farmers' Market this year due to the drought.

If you want Luke to teach you how to paint the exterior of a house, what strokes to use, ask him to demonstrate it by painting melted butter on a corn cob with a tiny brush. It was a funny example, but true nonetheless.

Luke was blessed last week, as he and a crew of 5 other guys ( I think an 8th grader, 2 18-year olds and a 38-year old crew leader, none of whom he knew from our church) painted the exterior of the house and the soffit thereof (which he had to explain to me--I didn't know what one was) of a 95-year old woman with 38 grandchildren, who spoiled her workers rotten. She had an air conditioned house, and the boys were working in 107 degree heat. They were treated to homemade lemonade, iced tea, and a special dessert (one day was strawberry pie, one day, ice cream sandwiches, etc) every day after lunch. Luke thought the woman reminded him of Estelle Getty's character of "Sophia" on the "Golden Girls," which conjured hp hysterical smiles from me.

The kids took a few trips to the local Wal-Mart, Luke having $50 to spend for the week on snacks, keepsakes or necessities. He came home, actually, with $15 to spare, which I said he could keep. What did he buy apart from snacks? He accomplished a task I've suggested his father employ dozens of times when there's been a "sock shortage" at his house. Luke done gone bought hisself a fresh bag of socks, citing that he sweat through 3 pairs a day. "Did you shower?" I asked him. "Yep, 3 times a day!" he said. Dang! "Did you brush your teeth?" "Uh, not really." Oh Lordy lord lord. When I went off to camp for 2 weeks when I was 10, I didn't bathe for 10 days. I'm not going to criticize his lack of oral hygiene at this juncture.

There were these little pieces of paper called "Care Cards" that each of the kids received like 10-15 of from various members of the overall group (which consisted of almost 400 students and adult volunteers) received at the end of the trip. Luke read me his Care Cards, and I was almost moved to tears. His nickname all week was, naturally, "Walrus, so some of his cards were addressed as such, but it was what was on them that struck me. Categorically, they all praised Luke's unique sense of humor, his strength of character, down to his "pretty green eyes," and one girl left him a note with 4 hearts on the bottom and said "Call me maybe?" (Whoa!) His spirit grew up a bit last week, and he came home more appreciative than ever of the blessings he DOES have at home, and survived the week without his iPod, laptop or XBox. Happily, no less!

Not wanting to go to work camp to begin with, of course, now he's like "Can I do it again next summer?" and I'm telling him "Totally!" My over exuberant hugging did have Luke threatening to whack me with this giant piece of wood he dragged home.

He was so worn out last night that he fell asleep at 9:45 with his light on and his laptop on his lap in bed, so for once, it was I, instead of him, putting the other to bed. I'm letting him sleep in this morning, a well-deserved rest. 

I was hoping, and I'll certainly check out, if Luke can get the name/address of the woman he worked for, because Luke would like to send her a thank-you note for her kindness, and tell her how much he enjoyed working on her house. And perhaps best I didn't know he spent an extended amount of time on the roof of her house with a leaf blower, cleaning out her gutters. I wouldn't have necessarily freaked out, but I'd have Mom-worried. But I'm his Mom, after all.

I don't know what it is between moms and boys--I disagree with Freud's theory of an Oedipus complex--Luke never wanted Craig dead to marry me, but boys love their moms and are fiercely protective of them regardless, I think, especially if the mom is single. The freedom of the trip and everything he learned were opportunities I could never provide for him, but was nonetheless prayerfully grateful that he survived...and thrived! Too bad he dozed off before I could hug and kiss him goodnight. 

Tonight is dinner with SuperJuls for a belated birthday treat! Yay! And my meeting with the Adler School is this afternoon, for which I need to start getting ready soon. Taking the train downtown (always my favorite thing to do, not). Luke's leaving again to go spend the evening/night with Dad, who I'm sure can't wait to see him either, and I'll have him back tomorrow sometime. 

God's continued blessings on the campers as they grow in their faith! 

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