Monday, July 21, 2014

Adventure Camp

Our two teenagers signed up for Adventure Camp at Camp Calumet Lutheran in Freedom, New Hampshire once again this year. They spent the week canoeing, rock climbing and rappelling, hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and doing all sorts of crazy things. They signed up for wilderness and lots of rowing and tons of walking, climbing, et cetera. 

I did not.

I signed up for dropping three kids off at Resident Camp on Sunday through Saturday and two children off at Day Camp from 8:30AM - 4:30PM Monday through Friday. I signed up for relaxing on the beach, reading a few good books, going on a hike or two, taking a kayak out for a leisurely row, and a two hour pontoon boat excursion to see loons and explore Lake Ossipee. 

Nine days at Camp Calumet provided more laughter, more love, more joy, more beauty, and certainly more adventure than I could have ever anticipated. 

For the first time in forever, my husband and I had hours to ourselves every day. It took a little while for us to figure out what to do with ourselves, but we managed to use our time well. Monday we hiked Jackman Ridge. The hike reminded me how far downhill I've come since last Summer, at the same time encouraging me to enjoy every step all the more greatly. 

Tuesday we kayaked to the mouth of the Bear Camp River and a little way beyond - far beyond what I was expecting, a surprising distance once we turned around to head back to Camp. Fighting winds and currents to get back to shore, I arrived worn out, yet elated. I'd forgotten how good I feel when kayaking.

Wednesday we contemplated the story of Noah while riding out a severe thunderstorm on an airbed in our tent, lightning striking the ground just feet away. This, after our pontoon boat ride was cut short in order to beat the storm to shore, collect our Day Campers' belongings, and get our clothing off the line before the downpour began.

Thursday found us hiking up Rattlesnake Mountain to what felt at the time to be the top of the world - both physically and emotionally. On the way down I was already plotting to hike that again in the Fall, when the views of Squam Lake and surrounding areas will be ablaze with autumn leaves. 

Rainy Friday provided an amazing, if wet, second hike up Jackman Ridge, down another path through the pines, as well as an opportunity to experience the Princess and the Pea in a whole new way courtesy of the Drama Camp production in which three of our children performed marvelously. 
Haley is the Lady in Waiting in the middle

Coren is the sleeping wizard on the right
Alia is in the center of the photo
After picking up our Resident Campers on Saturday, we nearly lost one of them while on a family canoe / kayak excursion. High winds and strong currents conspired to drag our eldest in the opposite direction of Camp, but Alia and I went to the rescue in our double kayak and verbally guided him toward shore, albeit the shore of another camp, and then along shore back to Calumet. We arrived to cheers and congratulations and exclamations on how close they'd come to sending a boat to the rescue. 

Epic storms, fighting currents, hiking to new heights, and rushing to my son's aid were quite a lot more adventure than I'd set out to have during our Camp Calumet vacation, but I wouldn't trade any of it for a week of relaxing on a beach.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Too Much Like Me

I love him dearly, this child who is too much like me. 

I love the full-bodied laugh that tumbles form his being, often accompanying a sly look in my direction. We have the same sense of humor, and crack up at things that make others look at us oddly. My heart melts at the sight of his smiles, the kind that light up his eyes and radiate to those around him. 

That he is so much like me pains me intensely at times. He feels too deeply, hurts so easily. The storms sometimes raging behind his eyes tighten my chest with grief. Consumed with helplessness, I long to lift this dark legacy from him.

He has turned fourteen, and later this year I turn forty. Neither seem possible; both feel unexpectedly old. It's nearly too much for me to wrap my brain around. It seems like just yesterday he was four years old, golden curls and impish face lighting up my life, and I, not yet thirty, two of my children just a prayer waiting to be answered. 

He is too much like me, but so incredibly different from me. He makes friends easily. His adventurous spirit leads him to do things I wouldn't have considered at his age. Much more athletic, he is well versed in hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, rappelling, and more. He has performed Shakespeare on stage - King Lear, from memory. I was thirty-something before I could get up in front of a church congregation as lector, the readings laid out before me, albeit very nervously at first. 

Alike or different, Zachary is growing into a wonderful young man with a quick wit and caring heart. For better or for worse, the words, "He's so much like you, " or "He's definitely your child," will forever be a compliment to me - although I'm not sure he'll return the sentiment. 

Happy Fourteen, Zachary!