Yep, this is my kid. You know, the one who has to carry everything she owns at all times. The one who can't be more than an arms length from a stuffed puppy or a Mickey/Minnie doll. The one whose crib posse includes the likes of 2 or 3 stuffed puppies, Maisy and the Maisy Book, her Build-a-Bear, Slapshot, My Pal Scout, her Marine bear, the blanket, a pillow and at least one sippy cup. The one who wears sunglasses all the time (even indoors) and has started to leave the bows in her hair. And, most of all, the one who has this magical power to make most people smile at even the darkest times.
The day I took this photo was one of those darker times-- the sun was hiding behind the clouds and we were visiting Camp Caring, a weekend-long bereavement camp for children who have lost loved ones. My hubby runs this camp every year for Hospice Caring and I can tell that those days are some of the most important days of the year for him. For various reasons, I've never been able to be a Big Buddy-- the one-on-one camp counselor that each child attending (Little Buddies) is paired with. This year, Joe found a way for me to be a part of his Camp Caring world... he invited me to take photos throughout the weekend for Hospice Caring to use in their photo books and materials.
One of his summer counselors came over on Saturday to play with Doodle while I went to Camp Caring to take photos-- it was a great few hours for both of us. I got to experience a little of camp and she got to have a blast with a new friend. I ended up being a little stuck on Sunday-- I wanted to be at Camp Caring for the closing ceremonies, but didn't have anyone to watch D. "Bring her up," said my Mother-In-Law, a grief counselor who is one of the facilitators at camp.
I was hesitant to bring Doodle-- after all, bringing a one year old had the potential to go horribly awry and the very last thing I wanted to do was be a distraction. I fought her on bringing Minnie and her stroller (and lost, obviously), but packed her little backpack with some snacks and a few books. Sure, she ended up getting a little loud and Nancy had to take her for a walk, but overall she provided one thing-- smiles. Those kids loved her. I'm so grateful that she instantly bonded with the kids (boys, mostly- lord help us!) and was able to bring a little of her personal sunshine to everyone there.
The photo above was taken as she was walking up a hill from where everyone was playing. All of the campers went inside for a final session, so we had a little time to play. I just couldn't resist snapping this one - of her and all of her gooberiness - as I waited for her to catch up to me!