The Special Times

I have had a lot of memories of my children and I spending time together. Maybe it’s just a mom thing but, even the annoying times, the frustrating times with our children are special times.

I have been involved in a lot of things with the kids, despite what Jack says. Yes! I still have Jack’s words rolling around in my head. They no longer matter to me but, his words, judgments, his way of thinking, is still there. I laugh, when these pop into my head. Why? I know the truth and that is all that matters. Now almost two years after he left his words are mere whispers that often are too low for me to hear anymore. Soon, they will completely fade away. “My” opinion about Jack’s criticism, I didn’t do things how he did them, therefore they are/were wrong.

What do I remember the most as a child growing up? Mom was always there. She was not that parent who went on every class trip, involved in the PTA/PTO (whatever it’s called now). She wasn’t the parent who was out there throwing the ball in the yard with me, or take me camping in a tent (ahh that’s why we have friends hello). We did things that her and I enjoyed. We did things she enjoyed–that at the time I felt was a slow death for a teenager. We did things I enjoyed. I remember all those events vividly. Even the things I didn’t like to do. The things I remember the most were simply mom being there to show her support. Band, choir, school concerts, talent shows. Even sitting on the couch watching tv, her doing quilting me writing or whatever I was doing are times that are most memorable. Curled up in a single bed watching The Golden Girls or the British Comedies bring back so many memories for me. Mom and I didn’t have to always being doing something. Was she less of a parent because she didn’t go out in the yard to play catch with me; or take me camping? Absolutely not. How do I know? I am writing this at 34 years old smiling as I write the memories of mom, I have.

It’s Friday and I am still on a high from last weekend that I shared with my son. Any parent who has more than one child can understand it’s not easy splitting your time between all your children to give them one on one time. My son’s Beta club had an over night camping trip to Unicoi State Park, just outside Helen, Georgia.

As my son and I are in the parade of parent vehicles I realized and said to him, “this is the first time since your sister was born (2003) that you and I have had one on one time.” He was just as excited as was. Sure we have had the couple hours here, a movie there. The camping trip wasn’t just us but, still him and I had a blast.

Mom made some mistakes. I did not realize we were not camping in tents…but a squirrels nest. Anyone know what a squirrel’s nest is? See the picture below.

Ladies and gentleman (I know there are some guys out there that think “camping” is a hotel room..don’t lie), the picture above is a squirrels nest. The only thing you have protecting you, a roof and a wooden floor. If I had known what and how we were camping in…this mom would have been a little more prepared. However, Jack took the sleeping bags when he left so I didn’t have any and again I was thinking we were using tents. So I packed the two mink blankets in the car thinking my son and I would be camping in a tent and even though it wasn’t sleeping bags we would still be warm. Of course once there, I am worried my son isn’t going to be warm enough because we only have two of these blankets, he’s sleeping over in the kid section and I am sleeping in the adult section.

I’m not a girlie girl..I have never been a girlie girl. I may not have camped in a tent growing up but the woods, wilderness and camping has been apart of me. While a couple of moms were not campers and I think one had never been camping before until this trip, I am thinking “I’ve camped in worse… I was married to a Marine after all.” Crap I even packed like Jack at this point. Am I like Jack no? It would have been nice to have an air mattress under my sleeping bag all those years we were camping, but hell no I had to sleep in a sleeping bag with this rock piercing my back. The squirrels nest was nothing. While the 3 other moms I was bunking with in our squirrels nest laid out their sleeping bags and air mattresses, I folded my mink blanket in half and put my pillow down on top of the blanket.

Did my son and I spend every moment together during the overnight trip? No. The kids were “hanging out” (it’s no longer playing with friends when you are a teen..the rules haven’t changed since I was a teen). The adults got lunches ready. I believe all total there were 11 adults, 7 women and 4 men. Once all the camp gear was set up, lunches were eaten. The agenda was to take the kids tubing down the Chattahoochee. However, a cold front had moved in the night before and the winds were high. The adults knew the waters would be cold and the last thing we wanted was to return kids back to their parents, sick. So we changed the plans a little bit. We opted to do our walk around Helen, GA Saturday. Let the kids do a little shopping and sight seeing. Our group walked around for a little while and then we found ourselves at a Go-Kart Track.

I opted to not get into a go-kart. Not that I wouldn’t have liked to. However , with little cash flow and knowing my son would probably want to do something else, I’d rather forfeit a go-kart for me than not do something else with him. The kids and adults were laughing and joking around. It was just a lot of fun to be there with all of them.

After a few hours in Helen, we all piled back into our cars and headed back to the campsite where a fire was started in the fire pit; the guys started grilling up burgers and hot dogs. The moms started getting everything else out. The kids were off in large groups, small groups all enjoying the adventure. Some of the kids walked down to a dock on the lake, some opted to play hide and seek in the woods, others just stayed up in their squirrel nest, hanging out.

I needed this just as much as my son needed this. Later in the evening the kids all crowded around the fire pit and started telling ghost stories, munching on s’mores, laughing and carrying on. I got the opportunity to get to know the moms and dads on a different level. I got to also know the kids on a different level too.

All of these kids (young teens) are truly amazing individuals. Not only are these young teens smart, they are caring, compassionate, and love to help others. While they are still young, overall they make great choices. Many of these young men and women, give up their Saturdays to help out a local pet shelter to help find good homes for the animals. I am so glad my son has these types of people in his life. Seeing them all laugh and joke together does mama’s heart good.

When a lot of the kids and adults turned in to go to sleep, a few of us night owls stayed up and sat around the campfire. Just sitting there watching the campfire with my son, listening to the night sounds and just simply being, made my heart swell.

Sunday morning we all got up and started our day. The winds were gone and the temperatures were supposed to be much warmer. Some of the parents and kids had other obligations and needed to leave after we packed up. About 20 of us remained so we could go tubing down the Chattahoochee.

If you ever get the chance to come to North Georgia take time to see Helen; take the family to the Cool River Tubing Company so you can all go tubing. It’s truly fun for all ages. Our group did the 1 hour trip down the river and I have never had so much fun in all my life. We all had a blast.

For my son and I, our trip did not end there. We decided that once we were done tubing we would stay for a little longer and walk around Helen. It was a chance for him and I to just be. We did one more little adventure and that was going to the train store where there is a model train section inside the store. For as long as I can remember, my son has loved trains. We paid the small fee and enjoyed the exquisite detail.

Five minutes into the drive home, after the awesome weekend my son and I had, I looked over in the passenger seat, he was asleep. I had a smile on my face and a quicken in my heart. I hope that when my son and my daughter get to be my age that they recall the special times.

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