Dad and I rode out to Camp Goodtimes this morning, and were greeted by some of the nicest young people imaginable. Some of them have known Walker for years. His counselor, Pieter, has been a volunteer counselor since he was only fourteen. I think that perhaps Pieter originally needed some volunteer activities for his high school transcript, but he has stuck with it for a long time now. Even the year with almost a hundred kids throwing up didn't dissuade him.
Walker chatted all the way home. He offered more information about the camping experience than ever before. He told us who had a boyfriend (a tiny little girl named Caroline) and who was disruptive (no one in his cabin) and what they had to eat (healthy kid-friendly food). As we rode along, he began unloading his bag and sharing photos and crafts projects and awards (for artistic ability and being most helpful) and talked about making ice cream and peanut butter balls. The coke thing was a non-issue. They had lots of lemonade available all the time. He was the happy, affectionate Downs Kid that everyone thinks we have all the time, at least for a while. He headed straight to the laundry room to do his wash when we got home.
All this outgoingness just has to be a result of Walker's improvement in his speech. Not only is he speaking more clearly, lots more clearly, but he told us things about his fellow campers indicating that he had actually talked with them. I never knew that Louisa's grandfather worked at Home Depot, the one near our house, and Walker engaged enough to find out details I never thought he'd be interested in. Apparently the fact that Louisa has "Chinese Eyes" no longer bothers him! It's heartwarming to see him reconnect with old friends in a new, and perhaps less judgmental way.
The most excitement came into his voice when he talked about movie night--"High School Musical" !!! There was a dance, with some Johnny Cash music. And on, and on.
Sarah will be coming home tomorrow, and Walker's ready to go to the lake for the whole family to be together and celebrate Little John's fifth birthday.
Like most of us, Walker is revived and invigorated from his break from the routine of sacking groceries, unloading the dishwasher, and sorting his Polaroids. He can't wait to go out with Theresa today to buy his weekly ten pack of Polaroid. He has exhausted the packs Ben so generously donated to the cause. For those that were concerned about the impending demise of the Polaroid instant film, he'll be okay with it. Walker knows that things change, and given enough notice, he adjusts. In the meantime, we'll enjoy a great weekend. I hope each of you do too!