Oct 1, 2014

10 Year Old Camping Trip

We decided very early on during the process of raising our kids that when they reached 10 years old they would have a special camping trip with Daddy to go off and have fun adventures in nature.  We also figured this would be the most opportune time to discuss the facts of life with them.  Ten years old is on the cusp of teenage-hood.  They still adore, admire and think the world of their parents. They're not too super cool yet.  They still listen to us.  So, the plan was, Daddy would take the boys and I would take Chloe to a Bed and Breakfast.  However, Chloe would have none of that - she wanted the camping trip with Daddy....afterall, the boys did.  She won - but so did we.  She got her special camping time with Daddy, but she also gets a special time at a fancy hotel with Mommy for us to have our special talk.


Gavin and Daddy went to Tyler State Park since we still lived in Texas when Gavin was 10.  See that necklace Gavin is wearing?  Chuck made it for him and gave it to him on their trip.  He wanted him to always remember the most important things they talked about.  The most important things were character traits.  Chuck also made a beautiful poster highlighting 3 character traits he felt were the most important for Gavin to remember throughout his upcoming adolescence.   Each green bead represents that character trait.  You couldn't pry that necklace off him for weeks after that special time with Dad.  I think each of the kids remember more about their awesome adventures with Dad than they do about the facts of life.  But at least we were the ones to teach them not leave it up to whoever they happen to hear around them.



Bennett and Daddy went to William O'Brien State Park in Marine on St. Croix in Minnesota. Another awesome time with another awesome kid.  However, they did survive the attack of the hairy caterpillars the entire weekend and even slept in the car one night because the storms were so severe. In this picture, Bennett is showing us where he and Daddy carved their name into a soft stone on the river's edge.  I'm so very thankful Chuck takes the time to show the kids how important each of them are.  Not just that, but he lives those special character traits he wants them to emulate.  Bennett also got his very own necklace and poster completely different from Gavin's.



Last but definitely not least is Chloe.  Her and Daddy went to Nerstrand State Park in Northfield, Minnesota.  Unbelievably, it did not rain on them.  They had wonderful adventures hiking and whittling.  She, too, got a beautiful necklace, made with love by Daddy.  It also represents the character traits that he wants her to hold on to while meandering the path of adolescence.   I'm so looking forward to my special time with Chloe.  Obviously, I don't make necklaces like Daddy, but I'm a good listener and I'm sure we'll have hours of talking and eating chocolate - not outside in nature but in a lovely little hotel somewhere. With warmth.  Running water.  A real bathroom, not a porta-potty.  Food cooked in a restaurant, not over an open flame in a pit.  And best of all, a mattress for a bed, not the cold, hard ground.  I think I win.

Ten years old seems so little looking back now.  But oh, how big we thought they were.  They thought they were practically grown ups too.  How thankful I am for this tradition.  It's the memory of the time together that they will always hold on to - not our words.  The gift of time is the greatest gift we can give our children.
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