Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Wishing Tree

On the IPOD "Very Last Country Song" by: Sugarland

The summer I turned 10 I decided to go away to sleep away camp. I remember walking into my cabin with my mom and dad and noticing a little girl, lets just call her "Spellman", who I recognized from Dallas. She was unloading toilet paper and candy from her bags I quickly turned to my mom and said, "You better go to the store, I didn't bring toilet paper!" My mom assured me that although "Spellman" was very smart the camp did provide toilet paper...

Camp made me who I am today... In the small town of Bruceville, Texas I learned how to ride a horse and how to love a horse. I learned how to make lanyard key chains and how to climb a ropes course. I made friends for life...It was this secret place away from the popularity contest of regular school. I did miss my parents that first year but when the friendship circle came around on the last night I thought I could live there forever...

While living with my friends those 4 weeks every summer, I learned about divorce, I learned that families weren't perfect, I learned about death when my grandfather died one summer and I learned how to comfort others by the way that I was comforted when I got back. I learned how to fight for what I believed in and I learned how to lead hundreds of kids in song.

As I got older I learned hard lessons too...I watched my friends have "real" boyfriends. I watched them fall in love and then have their hearts broken. I had alot of unrequited love but in a way I think I was the lucky one... I learned how to sneak out of a cabin and how to come up with really good reasons for why I wasn't where I was supposed to be. I learned how to kiss a boy and how to protect a friend. I learned how to make "special" brownies (well that was at home, but I did learn how to sneak them into a weekend retreat. Hey don't judge we were all good kids just experimented like any other teenagers...) At the end of the day I learned that it isn't only about the road that you take but more importantly its about who is riding in your backseat.

At camp there were these two trees that started close at the bottoms and then grew away from each other, kind of making a v shape. We called it the wishing tree...If you said a wish while you put your hands on the trees and walked through with your eyes closed real tight . Whatever you wished for would come true. I spent alot of time at that tree...I wished to be skinny. I wished for a boyfriend. Knowing me I probably wished for world peace! And then I wished to be skinny again!

The reason I bring it up today is because I was thinking last night...If I was back there today what would I wish for as I walked through the trees????

Not to lie I would probably still wish to be skinny...But I would also wish to be strong, to be unique, to have faith, and to try everything at least once...

The friends that I have from the 9 years that I spent at camp are spread far and wide. Jessica, Julie and "Spellman" are my mahjong girls and we try to see each other at least twice a month. I talk to many others over facebook and through email on a regular basis. And there are very special twin sisters in Cincinnati and Connecticut that I could probably send subliminal messages to if I needed them.

If there is any gift that I will give to my kids it will be to go to sleep away camp. And when we buy a house the first thing I will plant is a couple of wishing trees!

xoxo chef a


ATR said...

Oh Amanda. This post is beautiful. There are tears on my keyboard as I write this comment. No matter how many times I look back on my experiences at camp, it never ceases to amaze me how much I learned and how much camp influenced me to be the person I am today. In this post, you put into words thoughts and feelings that are so strong in my life. I share so many of these memories with you and are so honored by that fact. Thank you Greene Family Camp and Temple Emanu-El for bringing you and me together and thanks to the wishing tree for giving us all hope and comfort, back then and today. I love you and thank you for writing this.

Debbie said...

I second that. I love that we all went through all of it together. Sending hugs!