Camp is coming.
The number one topic of discussion in our house last week was making the trip up to Sequoia Lake to drop Jaelynn off for a week-long stay at the YMCA music camp. My surgery was scheduled the day before drop off. I was aware that my procedure played second fiddle to the feverish planning our daughter was putting into her first sleep-away camp.
Come Saturday morning, less than 24 hours post surgery, my husband packed our Hyundai to the gills and we drove her and her BFF up the mountain. I learned that two enthusiastic band girls belting out Hamilton songs during the hour-long drive is a good distraction from whatever ails you.
But who are we kidding, parents? Being present for our kids often comes before our own comfort.
Case in point: the piggyback ride up a hill.
I didn’t factor in what I would encounter when we got to the lake. How was I planning to trek up hills and climb steps with a bandaged foot and pain screaming through my toes? This could get complicated.
It was out of the question for me to sit this one out. I was eager to help my little girl navigate through her camp introduction. My husband stepped in with no hesitation and told me to hop on his back. He’s been our faithful Sherpa since the beginning.
My left foot bounced limply as he hauled me up the hill. My arms wrapped tightly around his shoulders, still gripping my walking cane in one hand. I tried not to notice onlookers watching as we slowly climbed, kicking up dirt and causing a scene. I don’t like to draw attention to my injury. I don’t want to say I’m embarrassed by it but I like to pretend people can’t see it.
There is one thing I’ve learned in my 13 years of living with varying degrees of immobility. People stare.
This time was no different. Not only were strangers staring at us, our own daughter was running up the hill, trying to escape the humiliation of her parents seemingly playful (but very necessary) antics.
Once we got to the top, I limped off and found a quiet place to sit. I watched from a close distance as the girls buzzed around, oblivious to our parental presence, and making fast friends with their cabin mates.
I wasn’t going to let another surgery, or the discomfort of random stares, keep me from watching my daughter delight in her new digs for the week.
I realized sometimes you just have to hop on and say who cares.