Juggling Camps

I’ll get back to a little more Colorado talk, but meanwhile, here on the home front, we’ve been busy.

You might remember that after arriving home late on Friday before last, I drove M and a friend to SUNY Geneseo for a Soccer ID camp. That ended on Wednesday, and thanks to the glory of carpooling, she just showed up back at our house with what she warned me was a highly toxic-smelling bag full of laundry. Camp was good: she had fun, she liked the girls, and she played well enough. But did it make her super-excited at the prospect of attending SUNY Geneseo? It didn’t. The town is very cute, and in her opinion it was. . . fine. And it really wasn’t a “real” visit, because of course classes aren’t in session and she was too busy playing soccer to participate in any campus tours or information sessions. So, you know, it’s an option. But I am still hoping that she visits some college and becomes giddy with joy and excitement. The closest we’ve come to that was her visit at Wellesley, but upon further reflection, she just doesn’t want to do a women’s college. So the hunt continues.

As M arrived back home, it was almost time to trek out west one more time to drop J at SUNY Brockport for her volleyball camp. Except then we ran into a glitch. Well, multiple glitches. First, J’s foot was injured during an overzealous game of backyard volleyball on the 4th of July. She didn’t seem permanently injured, but she was bruised and sore. Then she tweaked her shoulder practicing her serve. It got to the point where we were asking her if she was still up for going. She was: she was nervous about it, because this is a high-intensity, invitation-only camp, but she’d screwed up her courage and she felt ready even if she wasn’t in optimal physical condition.

And then she seemed to be have some sort of allergic reaction. First she woke up with swollen, achy knuckles that seemed a lot like what happens to me when I react to foods with my arthritis. For me, that usually goes away after a day. But then it didn’t go away. And then a red rash appeared. Long story short, we ended up at urgent care approximately 24 hours before I was supposed to drop her off four hours away. The urgent care person gave her a steroid shot and advised that we not send her to camp for fear that the when the effects of the steroid shot wore off, her symptoms could come roaring back while she was on her own far, far away. Our pediatrician, who was out of town but chatted with me on the phone, also advised against going to the camp, not so much because it was a medical danger but because it would be a pain in the neck to go back and get her if things got worse. The camp coach assured me that she wasn’t concerned about the medical side since there’s a nurse on staff, but she was concerned that J would be too stressed out while waiting to see what would happen after our 36-hour steroid window. She suggested that we drop J one day late after the steroid shot had worn off. And at this point we were asking again, “Do you really want to go?”

She did. She knew that between the foot, the shoulder, the swollen hands, and an itchy rash, she wouldn’t be playing her best. But skipping out on the camp would feel like a flat-out defeat. If she went, at least she’d get a chance to play with some really good girls and get some really good coaches.

So she went. It was nerve-wracking. The morning we left her hands seemed a bit better but the rash was traveling, disappearing from some spots and flaring up in others. I actually took a couple of photos of her as we were driving because our pediatrician had told me I should document how she was looking so we could notice changes. Then we got to the campus and had to hunt for the gym. Then we found the gym and it seemed like every single player was a foot taller than her. And super-intense. I went out to get her stuff, and a few moments later she came out to the parking lot with two other campers to grab her bags.

There she is, on the right, with her enormous yellow duffel bag. To me, the other girls seemed so much bigger and older than her. As she walked away, she just seemed so young and small and vulnerable that I got in the car and felt like crying. But I didn’t.

I took this picture home and M said, “Mom, they don’t look that old. It’s fine.” Days later, J corrected me: “Those weren’t even campers, mom. They were some of the college kids who were helping to coach us!”

She got through the camp. She spent the first 24 hours in an allergy-drug-induced haze, playing poorly and not loving it, to put it mildly. But after that, her symptoms subsided and she started playing better. By the time I picked her up yesterday, she was glad that she’d gone. I’m super, super proud of her.

And today she went to yet another volleyball camp, super-excited to put some of the new things that she’d learned into practice.

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