The counselor loaded the first and second grade campers on the hay truck. They were done with the games near the lake and were headed to yet another adventure on the 630 acres of camp. He was about to board when the tractor engaged, heading rapidly downhill toward the water. The kids screamed, one boy jumped off while still on land, another belly flopped into the water. But one of the little girls who stayed aboard cried out, “Tell my mommy I love her!”
The camp director happened by and seeing the partially submerged vehicle and trailer, began retrieving the children by canoe until they were all safely on dry land. At the camp store, the shaken elementary kids were given ice cream bars and soon bragged about their unscheduled adventure. Every good story has a takeaway. How does a seven-year-old perceive danger and how did she know saying “I LOVE YOU” was the most important thing she could leave earth (or dry ground) saying? This makes me want to know the girl’s mommy. And it makes me hope that her mommy knew her daughter wanted her to hear, “I love you” one more time. This story is my gentle nudge. We don’t often get a runaway tractor or significant heads up to make a last phone call to cry out, “I love you!” Then again, I guess we have more time than that. After all, every day is a heads up to say, “I love you.” One more time.