It didn’t come about with any particular sense of purpose or plan, but for the last several years, my boys have gone camping with their dad on the last long weekend of summer. It’s happened enough times that we can now call it a tradition. I do not go along on these trips because, say it with me folks, “I love not camping.” (I own this image on a coffee mug. I treasure it.)
For the boys, though, camping has become their farewell to summer. This year, my husband booked the camp site in May, breaking with the tradition of a last-minute “let’s see how this all turns out” kind of thing. Hopefully it turns out with fewer rocks under his not-so-sleeping body.
Ted has fond memories of his years as a boy scout camper, and, in part that’s what he hopes to transmit to the boys with these, so far, short camping trips. But he’s also working up to getting them ready for longer, less “luxurious” trips (ie, no nearby toilets, no ready-made bbq pits, no ready-made camp site at all). The little guys (now 5 and 8) revel in the freedom of the forest, and they seem to occupy themselves effortlessly with imaginary games made up of a mixture of heroes and adversaries from whatever they’ve read or watched lately.
Best of all, of course, is their dad’s company and undivided attention for the entire weekend. Dad’s neither working, nor doing stuff around the house. He’s all theirs, and that’s the true pleasure for all of them.
And little old, lonely old me? I need hardly tell you that I manage quite well on my own for the weekend, reveling in the peace and quiet before the back-to-school storm. Summer’s parting gift to me: solitude, space, silence.