Friday, July 3, 2015

The Summer of Ben

Being the youngest of three boys can't be easy. Ben has spent his whole life trying to keep up with his brothers. Now, as he is getting a little older, he is finally getting to do some of the things that he has watched his brothers do. 

One of those things is Boy Scout camp. 

Ben was so excited (and nervous) for Boy Scout camp. And I was nervous too. 

Ben was dropped off with the leaders on Wednesday morning and just a few short hours later the rest of my kids were commenting on how they already missed Ben. Grace insisted on making him "I miss you" cards and as the days wore on Tommy complained about how much he missed his roommate. I think the boys were caught off guard with how much they missed their little brother.

By Friday's family night we were all really anxious to see Ben again. We drove out to camp feeling like it had been a week since we'd seen our Benny, not just a couple of days.

Reunited and it felt so good. Ben was equally excited to see us and the hugs that ensued were so sweet. I wish I would have gotten pictures but I was too busy giving hugs myself.  
Ben led the way back to his camp and showed us around his home for the last three days.
As Ben went to change into his uniform I looked through his suitcase and his bunk, shocked at the condition he'd left it in. I thought that perhaps he hadn't changed any of his clothes while he was there but he assured me that he did. The suitcase was so nice and clean and neatly folded it almost looked untouched. But sure enough, Ben had his dirty clothes in the extra bag I gave him and neatly folded the clean clothes. Will wonders never cease? I was amazed. My baby boy was growing up.

The rest of the evening was spent laughing and hugging. Over and over again the kids told Ben how much they missed him. And he missed us too. By the end of the night I was questioning whether Ben even wanted to stay that extra night or not. I asked Ben if he wanted to come home with us and he said he did but that he thought he should see it through until the end. And he did.
It was a great experience for Ben. A growing experience. An experience he was proud of. 

This summer Ben also had a chance to catch up with his brothers in sports.

It's not easy being the youngest brother forever trying to play catch up. Many times Ben has come to me in tears because he is so frustrated always being the one trying to keep up. Time and again I have reminded him that he is much younger than his brothers and all of his efforts to play at the same level they do will pay off. I also remind him that he is a tall boy and one day he will tower over his two older brothers. That usually gets a smile out of him. 

This summer Ben is the one in the lead.

Ben is the only one of my kids playing a sport right now. Joe and Tommy decided to take the summer off but Ben was very excited to take a step up in baseball. It is a new experience for Ben to have his older brothers following him around to his games instead of the other way around. Ben has been used to taking a backseat to all of his brothers adventures and it was a source of frustration for him. Not anymore.
The kid who has struggled to play catch with his brothers, who was always on the bottom of the dog pile, who came in last place in all the big boys' races and games is getting his moment.

Benny was on fire last night at his baseball game. The kid knocked the ball into the outfield every time he stepped up to the plate. He played the pitcher position as well (although they have the coaches do the actual pitching) and caught ball after ball. He stopped the grounders and threw perfectly to first and third to get players out time and again. 

I had to laugh every time Ben made a play because he got so excited that he would hop up and down afterwards. So sweet. 
Yep. It can be hard to be Ben. But always working hard to try and keep up with his brothers has made him stronger. And I think he is finally getting to see that for himself.

I think this summer is a big year of growth for Ben. It is the summer of Ben


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

One of the coolest things about a kid at camp is watching them take care of themselves--isn't that a heck of a gift to pass on to our children? I felt proud of Mr. G who had his first camp experience this week, too.

Bijoux said...

He is definitely growing up! I hope your family had a great 4th!

betty said...

So wonderful he is coming into his own, so to speak, and blossoming in those areas he is enjoying pursuing!! Hope you all had a nice 4th of July.


lime said...

yay, Ben! Enjoy every moment you shine in the sun!

Riahli said...

Awwww, this brought tears to my eyes. My youngest feels this too. Now he is so good at just about everything he puts his mind to and I think that struggle and drive to keep up really has something to do with it. It can be hard but it's good for them as well. :)

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson