Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sixth Grade Camp

Steven and his friend Sumanth

We got back from Death Valley late Sunday night. We put the kids in bed, then did laundry into the wee hours and packed Steven a bag.

Normally we'd make him help pack his own bag, but we took pity on him and let him sleep.

At 7:30 Monday morning we helped load the buses with the gear of all the sixth graders as they prepared to spend a week at Camp Cuyamaca. No parent volunteers allowed, just their teachers accompanied them.

I know they're rapidly turning into young adults, but they were so cute getting ready to go, their excitement was palpable.

The nurse called me on Tuesday and there is some concern that Steven might have a bladder infection, but I spoke with his pediatrician and we decided that whatever it is didn't sound bad enough to cut his trip short.

The school principal drove out to the camp on Tuesday and crashed his Lexus SUV into the sign at the entrance to the camp. Damages to his car were severe enough that he couldn't drive it and had to have it towed two hours back to San Diego. Apparently the sun was in his eyes.

The silence in our house this week without Steven is deafening. Sean is literally heartbroken without his brother, even though they argue and fight almost constantly, it's just not the same without him.

I had a hard time seeing him off for reasons I find hard to articulate. He went to cancer camp the summer after we got home from Memphis and that time didn't bother me as much as seeing him off this time did.

The camp is part of the San Diego County school district and lots of schools participate in the camp program. Sixth graders from a neighboring community went to the same camp last January, and one of the sixth grade boys came home with an antibiotic-resistant staph infection.

He became very ill over a short period of time and two weeks later he died. There was a full investigation and the determination was that he didn't contract the infection at camp, but the story of that boy haunts me.

Steven can surely drive us nuts when he's here, but right now we're all missing him, he can't get back soon enough for us.

He fills us up, we love him so.

- Kathleen

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