Sock War. It’s a camp tradition, and we play it every Mother-Daughter Weekend at Merri-Mac. (Think: Capture the Flag with socks for tagging.)
This year, after spending the first few games being Cricket’s proxy and human shield on the field as we battled the other two tribes, I handed her off to a counselor for the Mother v. Daughter round. I figured they’d probably hang out and guard the kids’ flag, which they must have because I didn’t see her for the rest of the game. Although Cricket had been stuck to my hip, E.V. hadn’t need any hand-holding during the tribal games, so I only saw her a few moments here and there when we both ended up tagged and in jail together (which was more often than I’d like to admit, haha!). When they called for Mothers v. Daughters, I high-fived my competitive first grader and ran over to my side.
For the first time during the Sock Wars, I was free to really play. I set myself up to guard the small bridge over Spencer’s Creek just as the deep, metallic clang of the dinner bell started everything into motion. I figured I was in a key spot. Who would dare try to pass over the bridge when it’s so clearly blocked? A group of tweens, that’s who.
I stood on my side of the bridge, digging my feet in below me, swinging my sock as they advanced. Really it was a solid plan on their part — half a dozen tweens on one thirty-something mom gave them the clear advantage. But they were bottle-necked, and I was standing my ground. There was a long pause as both sides of war weighed out their next move — and then I saw her. I’d know that brown eye anywhere. It had peered up at me in her first moments of life, just as it peeked out at me from behind the crowd now.
“I want HER,” I yelled, pointing beyond the tweens. “The little one. Emma. Vance. Shove. Born June 27th, 2012.”
As if in slow motion, the tweens dropped their socks to their sides and stood up straight as what was happening washed over them. Then they swung like a set of doors opening, lining the narrow bridge single-file, and at the end, there she stood. Her face was nearly hidden by a sweaty mop of messy brown hair, but I could see that her cheeks were red and her eyes were wide with fear. My child. MY child.
I stared and smiled mischievously at her, still swinging my sock, and beckoned her forward. Slowly a toothless grin spread over my six-year-old’s face as she walked confidently across that bridge to take on her greatest rival. Gravel crunched beneath our feet as we circled around each other for a moment at a small distance, weighing our options and daring each other to move. We both held our breath. And then, I began slowly scrunching up my sock. Looking for the element of surprise, without warning I took a bounding leap forward, launching my weapon directly at her. My aim was good, but her reaction time was better. A miss! We were both left speechless for a second (HOW did I MISS??), and then everything lurched forward into high-speed.
I was sockless — and she was after me! I ran as fast as I could. For real. There was none of that “slowing down so my child thinks she can beat me” stuff. Not here, not now. Too much was at stake. I took off, but she was on my heels, swinging her sock furiously. (Remember, she is the Third Fastest Kid in First Grade.) I ran for my life, avoiding the other battles around me, dodging swinging socks from other children, weaving in and out of pure madness as I raced for my life all over the battlefield. She giggled as she chased me, and I yelled back at her, “NOT TODAY! WHAT. DO. I. SAY?? NOT TODAY, EMMA VANCE SHOVE!” My heart was racing and I could feel my face beginning to ache from smiling so hard.
And then, as I glanced behind me, I missed seeing another little girl cutting across my path. When I swung around and noticed her, I faltered my step for just half a second so that I didn’t mow the poor girl over. But that’s all it took — half a second. And I was done for. Beaten by a six-year-old. My own flesh and blood.
E.V. marched me over to the point keepers with the confidence of David marching up to Goliath, loaded sling in-hand. She beamed as if she had captured the actual flag and single-handedly won the whole game as I slinked away to jail. And, even though I lost miserably in a match up with my own daughter, in that moment I felt just as proud as she did, because we both felt the spirit of the whole weekend come to fruition — carefree mothers and precious daughters, being together, laughing, exploring, failing, succeeding all together and all at once.
(Now for the typical one million pictures…because my memory is getting foggy with age, haha!)
Crammed in like sardines for the road trip!
Goodbye, snaggletooth. (This is probably the only time in life that E.V. getting hit in the face by a tetherball will make me happy, haha!)
Tweedle Dotters // Daughters
Cricket immediately became a wildling.
Found a worm!
Dropped a worm…
Initiation: CRICKET’S OFFICIALLY AN IROQUOIS!
It’s Battle Ball time, and E.V. is on the front lines!
Rock Climbing (Cricket’s first time!!)
Archery (also Cricket’s first time, haha)
Arts ‘n Crafts
Cooking (homemade cinnamon rolls, yum)
Waterfront (canoeing, swimming, + SO many failed diving attempts, oh well!)
Iroquois Cabin ;)
Goodbye camp. (See you for REAL in a couple of weeks!!)