Letters to My Granddaughters

Sioux teepee

Sioux teepee

My two pre-teen granddaughters are leaving for summer camp tomorrow. I wrote them each a letter so they will receive them at camp…

Dear Lauren,
I just wrote to Amber and I had so many interruptions it took about two hours. I am hoping no one calls or knocks on the door while I’m writing to you!
Brekk called and told me you and Amber are leaving for camp tomorrow so I wanted to send you each a letter. As I told Amber, when I went to camp we didn’t get letters and it sure would have been nice to feel like someone was thinking about me while I was away! So this is to let you know that I am thinking about you and I think about you every day!
When you and your family were here we had such a great time and I was so sad to see you leave. Living so far from you is really hard for me and I’m hoping that we can make plans to see more of each other in the future.
Next summer I hope you and Amber will come and we will have CiCi Camp and we will do all kinds of fun things like, hiking and sailplane rides. We will go to the swimming beach and go kayaking at Seal Beach and do some fun art projects. We can take a trail ride on horses and do crafts and have a party! I’ll invite all the kids in the neighborhood to come for a sleep-over. We’ll have open-mike night on the stage and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over an open fire in the fire pit and soak in the hot tub under the stars and stay up late and sleep in the tipi’s. It will be a blast!
I am in the process of painting the first of the three tipis. It is the Women’s Lodge. If you have any ideas about what you would put on it let me know…I’m looking for suggestions. So far, I am putting a red-shouldered hawk on either side of the door, a circle of the moon’s cycles around the top, a circle of mesa’s and pine trees around the base and a fantasy woman on the back. She has a big wing instead of an arm on one side and a feather headdress and face paint and she has a wolf sitting beside her. She is an imaginary medicine woman/magician. She is very beautiful and very powerful. She is a symbol of the wild woman/healer of the past who lived in the woods with animals and never got domesticated (tamed down.) I think there is a little of her in all of us and it is a good thing! Children are naturally wild and that is what I love about them and why I like hanging out with them. They remind me that I too have wildness inside me.
Have a wonderful time at camp and please write me a letter or call me when you get home and tell me all about it!
I miss you, Lauren! BIG HUGS and WARM KISSES and LOTS OF LOVE coming your way…right now! Feel that?
CiCi (and George says to tell you and Amber hi!)

Dear Amber,
Brekk called me this morning and told me you are heading off to camp tomorrow. I remember my camp days when I was your age. I always got a little homesick even though I had a great time at camp with my friends. We didn’t get letters…I guess the camp at Paha Sapa didn’t have a mail delivery service. It would have helped me feel more connected to my family if I had gotten letters from them. Maybe I wouldn’t have gotten homesick.
Since you have traveled on your own all the way to Australia and you have been going to camp since you were small, I have a feeling you don’t get homesick…maybe when you were little but not anymore. You can probably help out with any of the kids who get lonely for their parents.
One year my girlfriend, Judy, got so homesick for her mom that she cried and cried. I sat on the steps of our cabin and put my arm around her and told her we only had a few more days and that she would be okay. I talked her into going swimming with me and after a while she felt better and started laughing and having fun again. I have pictures in an album of that week at camp. I think we were in sixth grade.
I want to have CiCi Camp here at Mountain Valley Retreat next year. I have thought about all the things we could do. I am also thinking about putting in a swimming pool…someday! In September, when I get back from my five weeks at Esalen “camp,” I’m planning a workshop for kids, ages 8-12. The theme is going to be Native American Indians. The main project is going to be painting one of the tipis I bought. I decided the three tipis are the women’s lodge, the men’s lodge and the children’s lodge. I am painting a design on the women’s lodge and I want to find some guys to do the men’s and I’m going to have the kids paint the children’s!
I think I will have them draw their ideas and explain why they think the tipi should have that particular design. Then we will choose the one’s that we like best and I’ll help them transfer their ideas to the canvas and then they can paint them! I think it will take at least two days to do the project…maybe more. The tipi’s are HUGE!
I wish you lived closer so you could come for the week-ends…I really loved having you and your family here. I only wish you could have stayed longer!
I hope you have a wonderful week at camp and I know you will be a great support for the younger kids who have less experience away from home than you. You are an amazing young lady, Amber. I am very proud to call you my granddaughter!
BIG GIANT HUGS and LOTS OF SWEET LOVE from your CiCi and George!

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