Today is the day that the diabetes camp I went to growing up and worked at through my adult life starts for a week. I imagine that right now there are many homesick little T1 kids getting consoled by the entirely T1 staff. I am sad only because I am not there.
|Theme meal :)|
There's something called camp magic, that you can not put into words, pictures, song or anything. It's simply a feeling of home that isn't home. Everyone talks about diabetes camps being a pwd's home away from home, the place where they feel like they aren't being judged for taking needles or sitting out of an activity due to blood sugar...but it's more.
|Hearing stories at game time|
It gets to be part of your soul. Diabetes camp binds itself to your being as a child and as you grow it remains a constant that will be there even in your darkest hour. The friendships I have made as a child and adult at camp have surpassed anything I have experienced outside of that environment. It was the one place, for the few weeks that I felt I could truly be myself. My comfort zone got expanded at camp exponentially with every new experience.
|A quick bolus before swimming|
I gave my first shot at camp. I had my first kiss at camp. I learned the effects of child abuse for the first time at camp. I witnessed my first seizure at camp. I sprained my ankle for the first time at camp. I met my first university roommate at camp. I got stung by a bee for the first time at camp. I learned so many skills outside of diabetes care, I can not begin to list them, but my major skill that I will never forget is to love my fellow humans, for every one is fighting a hard battle every day. It's something that sticks with me, and I try to be kind to everyone....or at least give them a chance.
|This camper was terrified of the water, but overcame his fear at camp :)|
A few years ago I took a job that somewhat prevented me from continuing my life at camp due to allotted vacation time. I was heartbroken. Trying to explain this hurt and ache to people who have never been to a camp and felt that soul quenching magic can not be done. I get teary and nostalgic every year when camp time rolls around. I go through old photos and try and find old friends on Facebook and Google. Every year I try to find a way to fill this void, but memories are all I have. I feel like I have so much more to give to camp, the children that go and my friends who are working so hard to create that magic for others. I don't know how to do this without being physically there. I will continue to live on my memories for now, but I need to figure out how to keep my magic alive.