My little sister and I grew up going to camp. We would pack-up and head to Eagle River, Wisconsin for 6 weeks every summer.
Most kids got homesick being away from their families for so long…
but not us. We had each other. What more did we need?
Even though we were never in the same cabin, I spent plenty of time with my sister….we would check on each other between activities. We would wait for each other for mail call so that we could read letters from mom together, and and every evening I would run in…climb onto her bunk and kiss her goodnight before retreating back to my cabin
We were quite the pair.
One summer, there was a particularly nasty camper who picked on my sister relentlessly.
This girl was tall. And mean. And gave El the hardest time…..
After weeks of just-taking-it, my sister broke down and came to me crying over Camp Bully.
"What should I do?" Ellie asked.
"Breathe in through your nose, out through you mouth….
I will handle this.”
& I did.
At the next all-camp bonfire, I grabbed an extra long roasting stick and torched my marshmallow. I got it good and burnt so the inside was a sticky mess. I then removed the charred outer casing and (wait for it)
….”accidentally” tangled my marshmallow stick and the gooey ball of sugar into Mean Girl’s hair.
Let’s just say, it totally had the dramatic impact I was going for….it was an absolute mess! Girl screamed and the counselors ended up having to cut a noticeable chunk of her hair just to get the marshmallow out.
That will teach her, I remember thinking. (And it did, I suppose. That was the last night she picked on Ellen.)
I realize smashing burnt sugar into a camper’s hair was probably not my finest hour….but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little proud of myself for standing up for my sister. With this (albeit immature) act, I made it perfectly clear to all of camp that El and I are a team….and if you mess with her, you deal with the both of us (and I, for one, am tougher than I look).
This happened almost twenty years ago…
but to this day, I have zero tolerance for anyone who messes with one of my “people.”
I know we can all fight our own battles….
but there is something pretty potent about knowing you have a team, a defense, who’s got your back. No matter what.
((Jet-Puff on three…1. 2. 3. Jet-Puff!))