Friday, October 4, 2013

"The Little Mermaid. I know, I've been looking for it forever. It's in the vault. Come back in 20 years."

I made it to Chicago! After bible study, a half day and celebrating KCraig's birthday I drove up to LaGrange to start the greatest weekend ever. Nina and Katlyn live right across the street from one another so I went there first first and ran to the girls to give them the biggest hugs ever. I love being reunited with camp friends and couldn't wait to see these kids.

Luckily Grace was there too and we were beyond happy to be back together. Grace is so precious and we just couldn't stop hugging tonight. At Katlyn's house I finally got to meet Max the cat after hearing so much about him since this summer and having Max the stuffed animal cat. Maxy and I hit it off right away.

Soon Emily showed up too and I freaked out when she arrived. It wasn't time to meet the rest of our friends for dinner yet, so I got to hang out with just these four for a little while. I've been so excited for this trip that it feel kind of surreal to actually be here with them. These girls each made such an impact on me this past summer I've loved getting to stay in touch with all of them.

If you know me at all, you know I always love my campers and getting to make plans to see them during the year. But this trip is extra special because there are SO many camp girls right in one place. My first year as a CILT counselor I had another group of Chicago girls that I loved to come and visit. It's fun to have that same thing happen again. Now the girls from this past summer are a huge part of my heart, my thoughts, my prayers and my text messages. I don't know what I would do without them all.

Then the night just kept getting more exciting. We went to down town La Grange to meet camp friends from the past two summers at Noodles. Every time someone walked in the door girls would scream and run to hug the new friend. We just get so excited to see one another it's hard to control our emotions.

Betsy, me, Katie, Tera, Kristin, Nina, Chachi, Kate, Maddie, Katlyn, Celine, Rain, Kerri, Emily, Maeve, Ashley, Sandra, Grace, Ella and Saaya

When the party got too large for Noodles we wandered down the street to Red Mango. While some girls ate fro yo, we did a lot of telling stories, hugging friends, taking pictures, laughing extra loud and seeing other friends that happened to walk by. I got to meet Jane in real life, Mark, Frannie and see Blaze again.

Saays, Celine and Ashley were all Session 1 from this past summer.

Kristin, Tera, Katie and Betsy were all CILTs in 2012.

Rain, Chachi, Maddie, Kate and Kerri (plus Emily, Katlyn, Maeve, Grace and Sandra) were in Session 3 together.

It felt like Friday night theme dinner a little bit just because I had to get a picture with every girl.

I can't tell you how much these kids mean to me. I love girls like Emily that I didn't really get to know until this past summer but know so well now. I love ones like Maddie and Rain that I've known since they were twelve and have watched them grow up. I'm so lucky that I got to be one of the counselors in their Tecumseh experience. I'm confident that many of these girls will be people I count as friends for years to come.

We went back to Katlyn's house to hang out for a little while. We had only just gotten down to the basement when Max pranced down the stairs wearing a white t-shirt, "What is that?" Katlyn said, followed by, "I know what's going on," a second later. She picked up Max and saw "Homecoming?" written on the t-shirt. Then the door to the closet opened and out came her boyfriend Niko. He was wearing cat ears, had whiskers drawn on his face and was holding a sign that said, "I've got a feline you'd be kitten yourself not to go to HC with me."

Of course Katlyn said yes and everyone took pictures to put on Instagram right away. Not only was it fun to get to see Niko ask but I was pumped to get to finally meet Niko after hearing about him. Nina, one of Kat's very best friends, missed the whole thing so they attempted to reenact it when she arrived. It didn't really go as smoothly the second time but it might have been funnier.

Garrett and Jacob showed up at Kat's and the Session 3 group grew to ten people strong. We hung out for a little while longer before we all had to say good-bye for the night. Good-byes are the worst.

I'm so thankful that I got to hang out with so many camp friends. Tonight was one of those times when your heart actually just feels really full and you can't stop smiling. Not going to lie, our time together went by far too fast, but I loved every second of it. Miss you already camp kids.

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