August 01, 2008

Lessons From Camp, 2008

Bring a friend.

Our boy has loved this boy like a brother for as long as he can remember. This was our third year of having JT & his mama "along for the ride," and both the boys and the mamas wouldn't have had it any other way. Bringing a friend along means having someone to say, "Remember when..." to.

Bring books.
Books are perfect travel companions. They're quiet and compact. And no matter where you go, they can take you to yet another wondrous place. (Disclaimer: books shown here are being read at the Hilltop Inn in Niantic, CT, en route to camp. Reading in camp is also eminently possible.)

Share the work.
This year, more than any, the jobs we gave D to do before, during, and after our trip were real jobs. Turns out he is a terrific rope untangler, kayak stuffer, water fetcher, ice purchaser, tent cleaner, and even sandwich maker. That last one was his idea. Lucky moms, we are.

Define civilization on your own terms.
When we tell people that our idea of heaven is two weeks of tent camping in North Truro, MA, the reactions are interesting. Some people seem a little envious, while others shake their heads, saying, "I could never do that." But really, what could be more civilized than a morning bike ride to the local cafe? The way we see it, coffee + today's NYT = civilization. Birdsong and ocean breezes provided at no extra charge.

Turn the treats into traditions.
At home, we are a relatively low-sugar family, at least as far as breakfast goes. In camp, I take orders each morning before I head off to the village cafe. When I almost balked at buying elephant ears two days in a row, my partner wisely said, "It's not a treat. It's a tradition." His bliss proves the point. (We used to get special food while on vacation, too, now that I think about it. Thanks, Mom!)

Make something special
with your own two hands.

(We made ourselves all manner of bracelets
and felt quite fancy!)

Cherish the earth.

Make friends with the ocean.

Enjoy whatever weather comes your way.
It's hard to feel trapped in the tent when you're playing endless rounds of Underpants Uno! He was the champion, of course. And was even a tiny bit disappointed when the rain let up.

(Until he discovered the joys of deep puddle riding!)

And leave some sand
for the next camper.

(Thank you so much to Grammy & Grampy,
Aunt Chelle, Nancy Bea, Wendy Cook, Van,
and others
for helping to bring a little special delivery joy
to our lives at camp this year.

Only 332 days until Camping 2009!)


ingrid said...

he has the most beautifully joyous face. :)

Cloudscome said...

This is lovely. I am so glad you had a marvelous time and shared pictures (and wisdom) with us. I was thrilled to receive your postcard! We have been admiring the beach photo all week. I meant to send you one but time ran away from me. D. is adorable, as always.

sister AE said...

excellent! can't wait to hear the details.

Anonymous said...

that's an amazing account of your vacation! thanks for sharing it. we used to go camping like that every summer. even as each baby came and required so much gear. the last couple years we haven't felt up to it. this reminds me we must get back to it. it's part of who we are. :)

Anonymous said...

Ahh- just goes to show what we're missing by having a"take me to the Marriott" syndrome. Great to see you having such a lovely time!
Photos are fabulous, especially the prancing at the beach one. Love and Hugs, Chimchim

Tracy said...

Gorgeous! He looks so grown up with the changing of the teeth!

Chelle said...

Looks like a good time was had by all, sorry I missed it.

Shelley said...

@Ingrid Thank you. We think so, too.

@cloudscome Yay, I'm glad that card brightened your day. I had fun imagining its journey to your door.

@sister ae We have some good stories. Hope we'll get a chance to share some soon.

@polkadotwitch Thank you. Once we started bringing the boy with us to P'town -- we took a few years off from camping until he was old enough to understand "BE QUIET!" -- it became incredibly self-reinforcing... he loves it so much, which makes us love it even more, which helps him love it, and on and on.

@chimchim Well, you know me and my rose-colored glasses! As they say, "your mileage may vary!" T has actually said that she demands to "graduate" from air mattresses on the ground by the time she reaches, ahem, a certain age, so we'll be checking out popups and/or Marriotts in a few years, I think.

@Tracy Indeed, he IS very grown up, or at least likes to think so. He is currently trying to lord it over his (older) cousins. Who are thankfully perfectly capable of holding their own! :-)

Angela E. Taylor said...

"Elephant ears"? That's what the clerk must have mumbled when I asked for a palmier at the neighborhood eatery. Didn't know there was another name but I digress...

Very nice! And, I'm jealous. First, because I miss by camera. (It died over a year ago, and I've yet to determine if it is indeed part of a recall whose return deadline is the end of next month.)

Secondly, oh the drama continues!

Part of me wants to show them to J but he's whining and complaining about how we never...go anything...yadda yadda yadda. (And we lost more $$ this summer than last b/c camps he didn't couldn't attend...and unexpected roof leaks - the last he assured cmr was "not his problem".) Nevertheless, just yesterday J talked about the time we dropped him off w/you all - for our 1st few hours ever w/o him. And, I think of that great picture you sent us...of him in nature.

Before school re-starts, we're hoping to do a day trip to NYC? Maybe Bronx Zoo + MoMA [] since he's now superhero-obsessed.

In May, I was talking to my brother-in-law as we drove to pick up my Uncle from the airport (the latter flying in for sister's AU grad). And he was telling me how my sister is lobbying to travel, go abroad; and he'd like to go camping. (Is this a NY thing? he's from the City though.) But I guess she has grass allergies [who knew!](and perfect teeth - digression! stop it.) From all my Travel Channel watching/fantasies, I suggested RVing it overseas.

Tired of fighting but still in the ring. Your photos help. Later.

He just woke up. [The scene: me at PC in living room, cmr asleep on couch w/ESPN on. Am I hearing things or is that a sniffling monster behind me?] I showed him the photos. No comment. I wonder if he'll remember any of this in the morning? He just went back to sleep behind me on the floor.

Off to escort him back to a bed.

pumpkiny said...

So beautiful! And the pastry face is priceless bliss! :-) Yay for camping!

Krista said...

thanks for sharing this with me Shelley! LOVE the last photo, especially - you 2 mommas are giving D such a gift - your time, and a window into experiencing nature in such a real and profound way...he will treasure these memories and make the effort to continue the annual event! can't wait to show Na'im your this blog! -k

Krista said...

Na'im says "Thank you Dominic for sharing all these nice pictures. I miss you!"

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post this is: I love your wise and warm observations, and the photos, and the captions, too. It almost makes me feel like going camping.