We hit the ground running as soon as we made it back to California. We arrived home at about 1 am. The next afternoon I was volunteering as a lifeguard for one of our favorite events of the summer. Special Needs Camp. I have been the lifeguard since Jack, now 11 was just a toddler. One of the first things Lois wants to know is when I am going to paint nails.”Don’t forget!” she usually reminds me as she lifts up her hands to display the nails she wants to have painted. “This year I want purple!”
“Is your Doggie here?” Jimmy usually asks…about 15 times in the first 7 minutes after I park my car. “Where is he? He is not here?” Every one wants to shake my hand or give me a hug. We only see each other once a year, but they are always quick to tell me they have been praying for me, they love me and that I am one of their bestest friends ever. All I can think as my kids play in the pool with these adults whose minds are still childlike is “How can I be so lucky?”
A few years back I had a swimmer come to the pool and begin disrobing. Unfortunately she forgot to put on her bathing suit. I frantically blew the whistle and yelled toward the main cabin that we were having a “Code Pink!” When I looked around I realized I was the ONLY one who was having an issue. I quickly handed her a towel and told her that wearing a bathing suit was one of the rules…”Ooops.. forgot!” she giggled. Fifteen minutes latter she came back dressed for swim time. I would NEVER forget to wear my bathing suit at the pool, but how many times have I rummaged through my purse…beach bag..or coat pockets for keys I just had in my hand?
Everyone has special needs. EVERYONE. Some are visible and obvious , some are hidden behind plastic smiles and expensive possessions. My friends at camp are quick to help each other, to include outsiders into their conversations and tell you the truth about how they feel. Being a part of this camp has been an awesome experience for our whole family. I am so glad we were home in time to visit with our friends who are special in every sense of the word.