Monday, December 5, 2011

Mama Bears

Dear Junebug,

We are on night four of having no electricity. There was a crazy storm that knocked down trees and powerlines all over town. While Daddy was gone, our doggy Brecka and I stayed in your room with you while the wind howled so loud outside that I thought the windows would burst! Luckily, we didn't suffer any harm, and the next day I went and collected some greenery that had blown off the evergreens for Christmas!

So, back to my friend, Julia.

Julia was a mama-bear. She was only eleven, but after years of not having a loving and protective mom for her and her siblings, she had learned how to be the "mother" that her siblings needed. When she was at camp she went around mama-bearing any little stray cubs that came her way...and she was good at it. The littlest campers trusted her quickly. She was gentle and kind.

It was Julia's 4th year at camp. That means for at least four years she had been in foster care. That's a long time to not have a forever-family. And, because she was eleven, the next year she wouldn't even get to come back to camp.

On one of the last nights of camp, all the eleven-year-olds get something really special. They get to go to "graduation". That night they stay up later than all the other campers. They sit around a campfire while their counselors share cool stories about them. At the end of all the counselors sharing stories about their kids, Julia was asked to share on behalf of all the eleven year olds what camp had meant to her. She said that life for her was hard. People don't always treat her well. But, at camp it's different. At camp she knew that people would do anything for her. At camp, she felt loved. It was the one week of the year that Susan got to be a cub, and have mama-bears looking out for her.

This got me to thinking, Junebug. A part of Julia had turned into a grown up really quick. She had learned how to be an adult for the smaller kiddos around her. And there I was, an adult, and I was still a kid, just looking out for myself. I think that's what made me start to realize that Julia needed more than a week of camp. Julia needed a mama bear of her own. A part of me had always wanted to be a brave mama bear. But to do that I was going to have to find the grown-up in myself...

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