It must be hard to live in the shadow of a little sister who has a personality that draws attention and smiles. Kira is just a larger than life kind of girl. She is full of energy and drama and, boy, can she talk! 🙂 Kalindi’s week at camp gave her the opportunity to shine all on her own.
Kalindi’s week at camp was successful on many levels, and not just for her. However, I will begin with how the week impacted her life first.
I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive when we were dropping her off at camp. She has only been with us for a little over two years and although she communicates very well there is still a lot that baffles her. She also does not read up to the level of the average American kid her age. I was a bit worried that she might get teased or feel inadequate. I also knew there would be a lot of physical challenges with new activities and, again, I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle them.
I am thrilled to say that I had nothing to worry about. My first glimpse of Kalindi’s face when they called her name during the pick-up at camp was a girl who was completely confident in herself and had matured about a year in that weeks’ time. She was chatting with a group of girls when I saw her and she turned when she heard her name, but the look on her face never changed. I was a bit disappointed as my mommy heart would have liked a bit of excitement from her, but I was so proud of her in that moment!
In the car, she opened up and began telling story after story of all the fun she had that week. She would be sitting there quietly and all of a sudden say, “Oh, I have to tell you this – it is so funny!” I asked her questions and I just smiled at her enthusiasm and excitement. She isn’t usually like that.
Now to explain my post title. When Kira and I were in line to pick Kalindi up they had the camp DVD projected on the wall. I have to say I was very impressed that they had made up this DVD to hand to all of us at pick-up that had still photos as well as some video from that week of camp. I was surprised and pleased in my few minutes viewing that I saw Kalindi in it several times.
When I was talking over the week of camp with my friend, Beth, who had been Kalindi’s counselor I was told that Kalindi was a bit of a camp favorite. Beth told me that she didn’t know how it had happened, but every camp worker seemed to know Kalindi. She said she was surprised at how many of them came up to her and mentioned Kalindi, said glowing things about her, and asked Beth how she knew her. It seems that also answers the question as to why Kalindi is in so much of the camp DVD. I think there is a photo of her doing just about every activity that she participated in.
This was a wonderful week for Kalindi. She was able to be herself. She could open up and be silly and funny and she did not have a little sister around that she felt responsible for. I have often thought that Kalindi acts much more mature than her age. She has had to take on responsibility at a young age that we rarely ask of our teenagers. I am sure she felt responsible for her sister at the orphanage and Kalindi has told me that she used to watch Kira as a baby/toddler when her mom would go off to work. Keep in mind Kalindi is only three or so years older than her little sister.
Beth told me that Kalindi was quiet at first, but she made a bosom buddy at camp and Beth said they were inseparable. Kalindi does have this surprising wit that can catch you off guard and she displayed that in abundance at camp. She also had to learn to deal with girls who aren’t always nice – something we all have to do in life. She was inspired by a speaker who told her life story that included being born to a drug and alcohol addicted mother, lived an unspeakable life as a child, and was finally adopted and made part of a family when she was a teenager. Kalindi really identified with this lady and asked Beth is she could speak with her. After the talk, in cabin discussion, Kalindi opened up and talked about her life and shared what the Lord has done for her in bringing her to a family in the U.S. who has taught her about Jesus.
I am SO proud of her! She is such a gift. I feel like because of this week away from home, I know Kalindi better than I used to. Maybe she also knows herself a little better.
So how did Kalindi’s week away affect Kira? Well, I was actually more worried about Kira than Kalindi. Kira has many fears. One of them is being alone. Three guesses why that might be – and the first two don’t count.
Kira did cry that first night she had to sleep in her room alone. I laid down with her and read her a story and prayed with her, but I felt like she needed to face this on her own. I never would have let her get out of control. I was keeping my ear open to make sure she was handling it okay. I didn’t want to push her too far, but this was a great opportunity for her to realize she had no reason to be afraid. We talked a lot about her fears – one fear she expressed was that she would lose Kevin and I. I told her that I couldn’t promise her that nothing bad would ever happen, but I could promise her that Jesus would always be with her. I asked her to think back in her life and remember all the times that the Lord took care of her. We have done this before so it wasn’t a new idea. It was a great growing time for her faith.
She did really well. It did take her awhile to go to sleep that first night, but the second night she was absolutely fine. So, the week Kalindi was at camp was really good for Kira too.
Kalindi’s week away taught me some things too. I need to pay special attention to Kalindi in these important pre-teen/early teen years of growing and maturing. I need to give her activities that she can do on her own that are just for her. This is something that I am going to have to put some effort into.
Thanks for reading!