16 July, 2009

Camp Kristen

Let's see, tomorrow brings the close of Camp Kristen, or more fairly Camp Red Gate Farm, since John has been at least as active a counselor as I have been. We'll have to take Anna and Ellie home in the afternoon, so so sadly, as our household could very happily encompass three girls (or as Avery points out, THESE three girls) all the time. What fun we've had: pool, slip 'n slide, trampoline, shopping trips, and quite the most fantabulous (or "fabulistic", we can't decide) dinner that ever hit the Camp: pierrade. And an unexpected and quite divine addition to the traditional menu of sirloin and duck: VEAL! It turns out to be the Meat of Choice for the camp girls, so two nights in a row found me slaving over the thin-slicing routine... such a pleasure, then, to see so much protein digested by such energetic girls. And in addition to the usual mustard accompaniment, there was a surprisingly popular second sauce:

Satay Sauce
(serves 12)

1 10 ounce can coconut milk
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 small onion, grated
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Boil all ingredients at a low boil for three minutes, then set aside to cool. PERFECT for duck pierrade.


Mostly what we have done for the past week is revel in what every at-home parent will recognize as the selfish luxury of boredom with an at-home child, or three. Of course it's a bore! Their games are of no interest to me, or to John, their conversation is often nothing that stirs a heartbeat. But we luxuriate in the total gift of that boredom, the heart-warming loveliness of that long-term investment of having this person, or people in our life, for such a short portion of ours. Adding a couple of extra girls to it all only enhances the fun. In such a short time we will be of no interest to them! Not even as transportation. The years when they ask interminably, "Mommy, Daddy, listen to this," are so painfully short that we're happy to live through the "But that's so boring!" Thank goodness they want to tell us.

Today under a threatening sky, we took Ellie with us to our tennis game, leaving Avery and Anna alone for a nice period of time just on their own. Ellie played, served ("I'm much better at serving than hitting!"), and finally earned some spending money as "Ball Girl," serving up balls to each of us, corralling all the stray balls as we played. The clouds gathered, however, and just as we were stopping play, and I was mentally reviewing the contents of my larder so as to know what to feed my charges, the heavens opened! We huddled at home, and I must say I adore the vista from my kitchen window as the rain pelts down. Very cozy.

Off to Danbury to shop afterward: fondue forks for pierrade, a new lamp for the new library, a shelf to hold all our bathroom bits and pieces, trainers and sandals for Avery, and just plain candy for the other campers: sorry, Becky, to have let them have so much, but what is one lone camp counselor to do?

Oh, and the girls had a lovely, if not very challenging riding lesson, on the most perfect afternoon ever. Deb the instructor was understandably conservative about letting Anna and Ellie do things she wasn't sure they could do, but let Avery jump a bit, which seemed unfair. We were all relieved it didn't go on too long, and I was happy to sign Avery up for six lessons for the next six weeks. Dusty, allergy-making, but a gorgeous afternoon in the sun, and as Becky said later, "Any time spent on a horse is better than time NOT spent on a horse." True enough.

When we got home and were having dinner, one dish being fresh-shelled peas, I said, "I don't know how the expression 'like peas in a pod' ever came to be. There are never any two peas alike, which you'll find if you shell them!" And Ellie spoke up immediately, bringing tears to my eyes. "But Miss Kristen, that expression doesn't mean the peas are ALIKE. It means they are CLOSE. Like, Anna, Avery and me." She gestured along the table to encompass the two older girls on either side of her, and I imagined the loving security she must feel, so safe between them. What a lovely thing.


Anna said...

Oh, another tear jerker at the end! Thank you for including the girls in your lives and in your heart! They are truly blessed by your family.xBecky

Kristen In London said...

Oh, the pleasure has been ALL mine, believe me. How we will miss you all: our love goes out to you.