Dad told me a new and enlightening story today at IHOP about my Mom who passed away a few years ago:
Just one week after my 16 year old sister was killed by a drunk driver on her birthday, Dad’s minister told him they needed someone to take the church youth group on a scheduled camping trip because the regular youth group leader was pregnant and having some physical challenges. Dad wasn’t sure, but when he asked Mom, she said, “when do we leave?”
After a couple days the youth group kids were bored and ready to go back home because they’d already learned everything about camping. Mom convinced them to stay so they could teach their skills to other kids. Against advice that they were asking for trouble, Mom got Dad to drive the church bus to the infamous Hay Street in Fayetteville, NC and gathered kids from a church and a two kids from a bar who wanted to go camping. No permission forms or anything, but it was the mid 70’s and my parents were middle aged church youth group leaders. The youth group kids spent the next three days teaching the kids from the Hay Street area to pitch tents, paddle a canoe, build a fire and four kids even learned how to swim.
Dad said going camping with the youth group was the best thing they could have done during this time of unbearable grief.
I was 18 and clueless at the time about what awesome people my parents were. I knew my Dad had to be pretty brave since he fought in Korea and Vietnam and had a couple purple hearts. But I had no idea what a brave Mom I had. I think my next book is going to be about them.