Camp offers a chance to reflect, and bond with oldest son


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My two middle children went to camp this week. I have missed them, but it is a great opportunity for them.

I love living in a place where it’s just a few minutes’ drive to a camp where my children can enjoy the great outdoors. This is something I have always wanted my children to experience, but we were never able to do until Alaska. Camp was always somewhere far away; I wanted their first overnight camp to be close, just in case. I like that camp here is just a couple exits up the Glenn Highway.

Their first activity is a lesson on what to do if they see a bear; they are camping in Alaska after all. Then they are let loose into all nature has to offer. There is a lake for swimming and canoeing. The counselors have dozens of games to entertain and coral the children. Then there is the bonfire for cooking hot dogs and roasting marshmallows. I cannot wait to hear their stories of all they have been able to do. The camp is nice enough to post pictures of the campers online, but I want to hear what they have to say.

With half my children away, I’ve had more time to spend with my eldest. He is a pretty cool kid. He is very responsible and has learned to anticipate what I expect out of him. This has given us a lot of time to just have fun and hang out.

The genes from my side of the family are particularly dominant in him. Teasing and kidding are how members of my family show regard for each other. We’ve spent a lot of time picking on each other. I’ll admit he’s got some good zingers. Gaming is another pastime popular in my family, and my son enjoyed having the game systems all to himself. He introduced me some games I want to get playing.

Another trait he may someday rue that he inherited from me is my sense of humor. I can envision this conversation in his future:

“My mom is so weird. She finds the strangest things humorous. And the puns…they are awful.”

“Oh, really…sounds just like you.”

While we spend time together, I’ve been able to notice how much he has been growing up. He will start middle school in the fall. I’ve been hit with the realization that time left with him is short. In seven years he will be off, to college or whatever life adventure he chooses to pursue. If he doesn’t have a direction in mind at the time, I’m a big fan of the military for a couple of years. He’d learn a skill, earn some money, and if nothing changes get college paid for later in life.

Next week, the kids will switch. My eldest will be off to camp, and the other two will get more time with Mom. The big guy will get to have some adventures, and I will possibly get to learn something about the other two as I observe them without the shadow of their elder sibling.

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