This coming Saturday is a busy day for the Tanners.
At around 4 AM, I drop DJ off at the Raleigh-Durham airport. She’s going to Durbin, South Africa, with her aunt. A once in a lifetime experience that she will experience… at age 19.
At 9, I pick Michelle up from Camp Kanata, an overnight camp where she will have spent the week with one of her best friends. She was stoked when I dropped her off last Sunday.
At 3, I drop Stephanie off for four weeks at Camp Seafarer on the coast of North Carolina where she will be a Camper in Leadership Training.
It’s good to be my kids.
When I was younger, often the highlight of a summer day was earning a nickel when my brother bet me I wouldn’t stick my tongue in the sand hole in our backyard. You could rake that dirt off with about three scrapes from your Incisors. Well worth it when the ice cream truck came musically down Berkshire Road.
My backyard could be Africa, if I wanted it to. It could also be sleep away camp or a spaceship or a battlefield. All we needed was a hole, which my dad dug for us in the back corner of the back yard. Six of seven of us could fit into it at once.
The principal’s kid lived behind us on the other side of the fence from our fort. We didn’t like the principal. We didn’t like his kid either. My mother, the preacher’s wife, encouraged us to be nice to him, to include him in our group. We didn’t much listen to her suggestion. I’m certain it was my brother’s fault.
Today, kids don’t have to pretend. They’re doing the real stuff!
They don’t even have to deal with sandspurs. Where did those boogers go? If you would have pulled all the sandspurs out of my dad’s yard when I was a kid, you’d have been left with a really nice rock collection. That’s all there was. Dirt, rock and sandspurs. They hurt like hell May to mid-June, but come Summer Solstice, our feet were so tough, we could have walked to Africa, barefoot.
We didn’t go to overnight camp. We didn’t sail or canoe or shoot archery. Well, we did have a bow with arrows that had a rubber end. We shot them at each other’s butts. They seldom stuck, but boy was it exciting when they did.
I’m sure there were camps back when I was a kid. I saw the movie Meatballs. Maybe I didn’t go because I wouldn’t leave my mother’s side. I didn’t want to go to half-day bible school without her and my dad was the minister at the church. I wasn’t really homesick; she was just a really good mom.
I’m glad my kids are able to do some really cool stuff in the summer. I’m glad they are having experiences I didn’t have at their age. I just doesn’t seem fair that I’m at home, working, while they are gallivanting around the world!