You see, our first summer home was pretty great. We had an amazing summer together camping, fishing, swimming, biking, and doing all those things that families do. But not quite all the things that families do. Karl and I had made a very deliberate decision to make that first summer very laid back. This wasn't too hard, as we are indeed pretty laid back in general. But it did change a few things.
One of the biggest things it changed was our summer weekends up north. Last summer, we specifically only did camping trips with the four of us. Don't get me wrong; we had some great times. And it was completely intentional: we wanted Chris to see how we camp. We wanted Chris to rely on us for direction. We wanted the kids to play together and bond. We wanted to make sure that Chris was not confused about who to ask permission for various things. We wanted him to see how we camp/vacation/etc.
He obviously got a chance to meet and spend plenty of time with our friends and family. We weren't hiding him from the world by any means. But there were certain areas we knew would be too hard for him to manage himself in if let too loose.
All this to say, this summer we got a chance to show him a new side of summer. The side where we go up north to stay at friends' cabins and go camping with big groups of people - more kids, more parents, more friends, more everything.
And woah, boy! Were we right. Last year would have been too hard. But even better? This year was just right. He knew to ask us before accepting a Sprite offered by a friends' mom. He knew to check in with us before riding bikes around the cabin property. He knew that he should put his life jacket on before walking out onto the dock to get in the boat. He knew that no matter how many times someone else offered him a s'more, he needed to check in with us to see if he had reached his limit for the night.
Last year he would have only been able to watch from the boat as kids (and grown ups) went flailing around behind the boat on tubes. His English would not have been strong enough - nor would we have trusted him to know what to do
Yes - this year has allowed us so much more freedom. And these are the summer days that we will remember.
|All three of my boys behind the boat tubing...|