Wednesday, April 3, 2013


The summer before seventh grade I went to Pioneer Girl's Camp for the first time.  Pioneer Girls is a Christian organization run through your local church.  During the year, the group meets weekly.  They have a camp somewhere in your state that your child can attend for a week (or more).  The boys have a similar organization, and used the same camp for the first part of the summer for five weeks, and then the girls got the camp for five weeks. 

I loved it. 

I went back to camp every summer for an increasing number of weeks each summer.  I even joined their 2-year CILT program (Counselor in Leadership Training).  It is a rigorous training program that requires a lot of time during the year fulfilling requirements to complete the program, as well as a lot of time during the weeks at camp.  That first year of CILT, I stayed four weeks at camp.  I spent two weeks fairly immersed in CILT stuff.  The second two weeks I was free to just be a camper again.   Whee.

I was completely unprepared for what happened that next summer.  I should have been ready, but I was NOT.   It just didn't occur to me until I got to camp that after the two weeks of the CILT program, THAT WAS IT.  We would have this big ceremony and then I would be a counselor.  There would be no more fun weeks of being a camper *ever again.* 

Every year there is a Theme Song that we sing as much as possible in an effort to remember it.  I must admit that year's song is the only one I remember.  The chorus went something like this, "Mmmm I want to linger, Mmmm a little longer, Mmm a little longer here with you..." I cried through the whole thing every time we sang it.  It was a waterworks show.  In fact, my tear ducts were always on a short trigger.  As graduation approached, I knew I didn't want to graduate.  I didn't want to grow up.  I didn't want to be the adult.  I didn't want to leave childhood behind.  I could see it rapidly approaching and I just wasn't ready to give it up.... yet.

There are people who go through life and have this big mid-life crisis because they don't know what happened.  Their youth somehow slipped by them without them even knowing.  I always knew that would NEVER happen to me.  I knew precisely when my youth got left in the dust.  It was the summer of 1985.  It didn't go easy, either.  I like to think I was a caterpillar before that summer.  That summer was my chrysalis.  And fighting your way out of one those things isn't remotely pretty.  It is a lot of kicking, crying, screaming, frustration, and exhaustion.  All the while you know something has died.  You don't feel the same, and you are mourning that caterpillar.  Meanwhile, you have no idea what you will look like when you finally get out of what feels like a Death Trap.  It's hard being caught in the In Between Places. 

It's only after it is all over that you see things for what they are.  See you for what you are.  It's something of a shock when it's all over.  You don't even recognize yourself.  Who is that?  I don't know that being.  But, it is me and it's okay.  Better than okay.   I'm a butterfly.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"    Ecclesiastes 3:1

image found at 

Did you have a defining moment or experience that marked your passage from childhood to adulthood?  Have you had clarity about realizing your days of childhood have passed you by and you are now officially an adult?  How did that happen?  Did you ever go to summer camp?  Was that a wonderful or terrible experience? 


  1. It's so hard growing up - you described it beautifully.

  2. Questions
    2.I don't even know if I am yet LOL
    3.See if Glen Johnson counts. I was a freshman and he was a senior. He could go to the senior prom and of course I couldn't. He left early and rang my door bell. We sat outside between 2 lilac bushes in bloom. I had my first passionate kiss. WOW.... pretty defining but I think I went back to being a child again. Although every spring when I smell the lilacs in bloom I remember Glen. But he's dead. They're all dead.
    4. Nope. It was deep into the depression.

    Good post....A thinking person's post.Ha

  3. I don't want to grow up - I'm a Toys R Us kid!
    When I got out of college and got my first job and apartment, that was a major moment. So was marrying my wife, because now I was responsible for her as well.
    My wife always said if I hit a midlife crisis, I am to at once go buy a sports car.
    I did and... I did!

  4. When I hit middle age, I will be sure to avoid a crisis. As for my defining moment into aduthood: I said hello to my father when I was 12 and he sent me to work. I'm still working.

  5. Hi Robin,

    A most thoughtful posting and the recognition of your awakening and becoming the butterfly.

    I would say that I have no defining moment. As an adult, I'm still in tune with the wisdom of my inner child. This, I believe has made me a more caring, compassionate adult.

    Thank you for such a wonderful post, Robin.

    In kindness and peace, your way,

    Gary :)

  6. I loved my Girl's Camp days during my youth, and now I'm one of the camp leaders and I realize it's fun, but I miss being a kid. (So I live vicariously through my characters in my writing, ha!) I think the moment I realized, wow, I'm an adult, was when I had my first baby. It's a humbling thing to wake up and realize I'm responsible for another human being.

  7. It's not easy to become a butterfly, but then it's not easy to do a lot of things. May as well spread your wings and soar!

  8. Most of the time I feel like I'm still living my childhood. I mean, my friends and I are nothing like our parents were at our age. Then again, I was remember always being older than my years. Not sure when I crossed the bridge.

  9. Oh wow! I think I realized it the first summer I had to work at a "real" job (meaning in an office) after college. Before that I'd been a lifeguard for five years. I'd ride the train into the city feeling like crying because I was stuck inside all day...

  10. I started out being a grown up.

  11. Judy ~ Yes, it is hard, but resistance is futile.

    Manzanita ~ Sounds like you took a tentative step toward adulthood with that kiss and then ran back to safety of childhood. I totally understand THAT. I also know how powerful smell is at evoking memory. Thanks for sharing!

    Alex ~ For many people Graduation and that First Real Job is the Defining Moment. It is that big ole slap in the face that says, "Wake up, you're an adult now." Marriage is often another. Hahaha about the sports car...

    JJ ~ Why does this not surprise me???

    Klahanie ~ Yes, I think it is true.

    Cassie Mae ~ I think many people who write YA Lit are still reveling a bit in their childhood:) Isn't it interesting that you can get that first job, married, and it takes having a child to Truly.Sink.In. That You are the Grown Up now? It's different for everyone, but I think this happens frequently!!! Thanks for participating in the conversation:)

    M.J. ~ No, seems like many things in life are difficult. I think it is designed that way so that we appreciate the accomplishment.

    Empty Nester ~ Many people cross that bridge without any awareness of having done so...

    Liza ~ I can relate to that one. I just did all of my crying in one summer. It's that feeling of, "Will it be like this forever?" And the answer is pretty much, "Yes." We move forward, not back. I am sure that there were many years in an office before life changed for you again. And so it goes...

    Andrew ~ This makes me very sad.

  12. I so loved going to summer camp - in fact I didn't want to come home. Not that I didn't like being at home, I just loved the atmosphere of CAMP - so many fun things to do and everyone dining together at those long tables. It was great!

    Popped by from the AtoZ Challenge.

  13. I enjoyed reading how important this was to you!!! Wow... talk about life shaping, huh? You're doing a great job with this Blogging A-Z. Keep up the good work!!!

    See you here tomorrow!!

    Waiter, drink please!

  14. Aw, man! Sometimes it really stinks to grow up, doesn't it? :)

  15. Love this piece, especially the In Between Places. I was in one the night before I left for college. A bunch sitting in the field at our old middle school, all of us knowing things would be different, but not knowing exactly how.

  16. I know when I realized I had to become a grown up. The day we brought my first born home from the hospital. Reality time.

  17. Lovely posting! I was a girl scout and can remember many summers at camp. I know I made choices both good and bad, but I look back and def wouldn't change anything. The days have definitely sped by I wish life would slow down just a little. :) Enjoyed reading your posting

  18. I can't think of a defining moment from childhood to adulthood, but a series of things.

  19. >> . . . I didn't want to grow up. I didn't want to be the adult. I didn't want to leave childhood behind. I could see it rapidly approaching and I just wasn't ready to give it up....

    ...and so I didn't.
    And I still haven't.
    I'm the god of 'Never-Never Land'.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  20. I never went to summer camp and I've never forgiven my parentals for not sending me. Though, they would allow me to go to weekend retreats with your Christian Youth Organization. It was co-ed and we had chaperones to watch over us. It was like my very own version of "Summer" camp. ha!

  21. As a little kid people always remarked that I was such a 'little adult'. I never really got what they were trying to say. And no, I can't think of any defining moment of growing up into an adult. I think I kind of just do what I do and continue to feel as if I'm always the same person I ever was.
    I often remark that I have felt the same in my head since I was at least 12. My feelings and beliefs haven't changed all that much.
    When I turned 30 I do remember that I really stopped taking crap from people and I feel like as I approach 40 I'm more ready to tell people where to go with their bad attitudes and behavior. I think I'm getting braver, but I might be getting more annoying!!!!


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