Hazel had an ambivalent year at the Lake. When we first got there she was THRILLED out of her mind, happy as a little clam running around with her group. On the second day I asked her how she was doing and she said, “I’m having so much fun I can hardly believe it!” I was happy because in past years she’s had a bit of a hard time navigating the dramatic dynamics of her girly group. A girl trio can be hard to manage, right? This little group did great throughout the first week, but then the drama started seeping in. Hazel is the youngest of “The Babes” (grandfather’s name for these three cute girls). Even though she’s only a few months younger than Claire she’s a whole grade behind her, and two grades behind Eliza. Because she’s the oldest at home and at school, and pretty much of the boss of most of her kid interactions, being the youngest is a trick that she spent all summer trying to figure out. Her cousins did their darndest to make sure she was having a good time, bless their little hearts, but when things didn’t go the way Hazel wanted them to she’d stomp off and do her own thing. This put into motion a strange cycle where she’d start to feel left out, storm off even more often, feel more left out etc etc. I spent lots of time worrying about how to handle this and I’m not sure that I ever came up with a solution. Instead, I realized that this is Hazel’s territory. I can help her a little here or there, but ultimately this is her life, her mortal experience. There’s stuff she’s got to figure out how to navigate, on her own. When I’d try to intervene it would just undermine her confidence even more. So, I bit my tongue. Worried silently and to my sisters. (can you see that bit of anxiety in her smile? sort of makes my heart hurt)
The funny thing is that it seemed to bother me more than it bothered her. She could definitely feel the weird tension and pulls but she wasn’t crushed by any of it. She just did her own thing for a while and then tried to re-enter as gracefully as she could. And you know what? It worked out. She figured it out. She’s amazing. She left happy, her group in tact with mostly good feelings about the summer. I just wish I wouldn't have spent so many of my precious Bear Lake moments worrying.
I’m so thankful that she has these two dear girls for cousin friends. They are such good good girls, so full of fun and spunk and kindness. Half way through the summer they rejected their name “the babes” and renamed themselves “Eclaizel.” I can’t wait to see who they all become and how their group evolves and changes. I have a feeling they’re going to be a big part of my Hazel’s life. And that makes me happy.
Hazel’s group was pretty darn serious about the group contest to win badges on their flag by doing good deeds. They probably organized these shoes 20 times. They were constantly asking what they could do to help and quite a few times while cooking or folding laundry or some other task I found 6 little hands massaging my shoulders and legs and arms. Although they didn’t end of winning the competition, their determination really got the rest of the groups going. Perhaps Hazel’s biggest highlight of the summer was Grammie Camp. She got to go last year so she knew all the delights she was in for. She loved every minute of it. Read all the details here on my mom’s blog. I love the things my mom is engraining in these girls.
While they were at Grammie Camp they decided to buy Uncle Eli this water gun for his birthday. Love those thoughtful little girls. As predicted by me, Hazel was a favorite among group #5. Those little girls could not get enough of her. She was always helping them, reading to them, playing with them. I loved watching her mother and befriend those little girls all at the same time. Here’s Hazel with “the other Hazel.” Hazel Jo is my cousin Lindsay’s little girl. They were born just a few weeks apart and were both named after a grandmother we both loved. They love seeing each other every year at the lake. And below she’s with “the other Hazel” and her cute cousin Cami who is an amazing little soul who has been battling leukemia this last year. Hazel and I were both so impressed with her sparkly spirit.Hazel loved the water this year. She was so much more confident and happy. Played in those sparkling waves for hours. Had some great adventures on the raft. I relived my own childhood at Bear Lake as I sat and watched her bask in those long unstructured days.By the end of our time there Hazel had really come into her own. I feel like she learned so much this summer about making friends and relating to new people. Every few days there were new social dynamics that she had to navigate, new friends to meet and incorporate and she did a really good job. When I wasn’t worrying I was pretty darn proud.
Hazel also loved all the adult attention she got up there. I think it was really good for her to be showered with so much love by so many adults that she looks up to. Especially Aunt Chi Chi. They are kindred souls. Other highlights for Hazel this year:
Art projects. That girl can come up with a craft in no time, with no supervision or help or even supplies. Not sure where she got her craftiness from, certainly not me. Digging. The last week we were there Hazel got super into digging. She got all these kids going and they built a ginormous hole. The beauty of the place. I feel like this year Hazel got the Bear Lake magic. She pointed out beautiful things she was seeing, things I didn’t even see. I love it that she shares a love for the natural world with me.
I love Hazel. I love watching her big spirit grow into itself.