Yesterday we moved most of our summer things up to camp. The back of the truck was full of boxes, the baby boy full of rice and stew. The higher we climbed up Rampart Range, the higher the anxiety mounted in my own heart. We unpacked, stowing our favorite mugs in the cabinets, tucking away canned tuna and steel cut oats in a cupboard, setting bread and tortillas on top of the fridge.
With each thing I unpacked, the stark reality of our summer at camp took on form. I had known the fridge would be small as but I tucked kefir on the top shelf and then negotiated the almond milk behind it I wondered how I would work with this space. I knew there wasn’t a bookshelf but when I stowed my favorite books behind a charming little end table door, I wondered how I would survive in this literary desert. The windows, larger than I had remembered, were covered in window wells and my heart sank a little more. I had planned for Erik to share our room but when I put him down in the pack’n’play, still unhappy after a bottle of milk, I wondered how much more motherhood I could manage for the day.
I saw the sun shining through a hedge a few days ago. The sidewalk was shadowy and dark but in the gap between the leaves the sun was bright and gold, all the more beautiful for having trickled through the leaves, maybe. And when the sun slips behind the dark-rising mountains in the evening, the colorful rays of evening shine out the more lovely for being ephemeral.
Perhaps that is the way with all beautiful things. I must learn to see them. The moments of glory in parenting will only shine the brighter when I am looking for them, when I have walked through the frustrations. The small closet, the narrow cupboards, the welled windows; these will all become worthwhile when I have looked for the ways that camp life is shot through with light. The same moment the sun sets, the stars begin to appear. When the challenges rise like the dusky mountains in the evening, the soft rays of joy may just become more beautiful.
Look for the light, my friends.