The 11th Annual Pearson Cousins Camp ended last Saturday, July 28th, and once again, the prayers of our children and friends, coupled with our own fervent prayers, were answered for a successful week together. Here are some special blessings that I want to praise God for in particular:
- WE STAYED SAFE AND HEALTHY. Believe me when I say that this first one is not to be taken lightly. After all, we were in the pool everyday, we cooked everyday, and we were on the highways everyday. One afternoon, we (meaning THEY) were even jumping on trampolines! At the end of the week, I had only applied ONE Bandaid (for a tiny scrape on an arm that was only detectable by the child requesting the Bandaid), and I had not administered a single dose of medicine. Since the memories are still fresh of 1) the 2nd Cousins Camp when Nathan tumbled head first down a flight of metal stairs less than 30 minutes after his arrival and spent the rest of the week with a black and blue face, 2) the 3rd Cousins Camp when Seth ran a high fever and his parents were in ZAMBIA, and 3) the 10th Cousins Camp when Luke barfed all over the kitchen floor right in front of Allie who is absolutely paranoid about throwing up — just trust me, Steve and I will never fail to be extra grateful when we go through an entire week without injury or illness. Thank you, God.
- WE MADE MORE MEMORIES AND FORMED YET ANOTHER LAYER OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP. At the end of our time together, we always have new “sayings,” new buzz words, new inside jokes, new songs that last us for months and become part of our Cousins Camp lore. If you see one of the children in the coming months, ask them to name a few. I have no doubt you’ll be entertained.
- WE HAD AN UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF ALABAMA TO A LADY FROM BOSTON. While visiting Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham on our first full day together, we were all wearing our Hartselle Tigers t-shirts, and I was explaining about what life was like in Birmingham in the 1950’s and 60’s, when Granddaddy and I were their ages. We were standing near the 16th Avenue Baptist Church where 4 young girls were killed by a bomb in 1963, and I was trying to help them understand about the sculptures depicting attack dogs, policemen and children in jail. They had a hard time understanding a period in history when such things took place. Instinctively, they knew it was wrong to treat fellow humans in such a way. A lady standing nearby came over and wanted to know what kind of group we were. When we explained that we were a family and these were our grandchildren, she was completely intrigued. Those few minutes of watching and listening appeared to change her perception of people in Alabama and how they felt about those events. She was so glad to know that we were ashamed and sorry that such things had taken place. She went on to explain that she was from Boston, but her daughter was in school at UAB. I believe God put us in her path to give her some reassurances. You just never know when someone is watching and listening. A great lesson for the kids . . . and a good reminder for me.
- WE LEARNED VALUABLE LIFE LESSONS THROUGH FREE PLAY TIME AND THROUGH OUR FIELD TRIPS (which we like to call “Mystery Trips”). In short order, the grands themselves saw that the new pool table would need some kind of “system” to make playing time fair. Luke, the cousin organizer, quickly asked for paper and pen and drew up a kind of tournament-type schedule. Steve and I didn’t have to intervene. Everyone was satisfied. At the end of the week, we visited Ivy Green, the childhood home of Helen Keller and learned her story. The visit made an impression that led to some very meaningful discussions later. While bowling, we saw Nathan and Rosemary emerge as high scorers, but at Top Golf, Seth was clearly more skilled. Doing crafts revealed others with particular acumen with their hands. The lesson was that everyone is good at SOMETHING, but no one is good at EVERYTHING. You get the idea. Learning occurred in practically everything we did. When you’re a teacher at heart, that makes for a feeling of success and accomplishment.
- WE DELIGHTED IN EACH CHILD’S PERSONALITY AND TALENTS.
- THE GRANDCHILDREN EXPRESSED THEIR GRATITUDE. The smiles, laughter and hugs are reward enough, but when you go back in the bedrooms after they’ve left and find handwritten thank-you notes, it is an unbelievable blessing. When your teenage grandson calls you “TheBomb.com,” it is taken as the highest possible praise.
Monday’s post will outline some of the week’s activities, and next Friday we’ll take a look at Cousins Camp Challenges. Also, a book is in the works with philosophy, suggestions, and recipes for present and future grandparents who are thinking of hosting their own version of Cousins Camp. But, for today, let me continue to thank God for His provision and protection while we were together last week.
Psalm 75:1 – “We give thanks to Thee, O God, we give thanks, for Thy name is near, Men declare Thy wondrous works.”
Psalm 89:1 – “I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; to all generations I will make known Thy faithfulness with my mouth.”