The only thing that we can count on, apparently, is change. It’s one of those things that I understand at an intellectual level, but that I struggle with in everyday life. Since my boys were very little, we’ve spent time every summer camping. It’s a family tradition. Summertime with my boys has always meant packing up the van and heading off for a week here and a weekend there. It’s something we all look forward to.
Except that this year my eldest son, who is just heading into his final year of high school, found a summer job. (He is planning to go to Kenya for a couple of weeks in the spring to help build a school, and he needs to finance that venture. Thus the job, a quintessentially Canadian one, making donuts at Tim Horton’s). And while I am delighted that he’s found work, it put a crimp in the usual summertime routine.
This was a different summer for us, a summer closer to home. Fortunately, summertime in Victoria is no great hardship. While my eldest boy donned his “Tim Horton’s Career Wear” and headed off to work, his younger brothers and I went hiking or spent time on the Inner Harbour in Victoria, enjoying the buskers and the crowds of tourists. The boys had more time to get together with friends. And my middle son spent one week at a soccer camp and another playing rugby. He was in his element.
A particularly happy memory for me is the time we spent at Shawnigan Lake with my sister and her girls. We had access to her friend’s house and private dock and the kids had a ball, leaping into the warm lake water, floating around on boogie boards, and sunning themselves on the dock. They were most impressed when the “Ice cream Boat” pulled up to our dock, tinkly ice cream jingle and all!
I grew up near Shawnigan and spent summers as a teenager working and playing there. Somehow I’d forgotten what an amazing place it is for kids.
Thanks to my mom, who came and stayed with my eldest son, the rest of us were still able to get away camping for a week on Hornby Island, something we’ve done every summer for many years.
And we did have one weekend when all three boys were together for a camp out on Sidney Spit. The picture to the left is one that I treasure, the only one I have from this summer of all three boys gathered around a campfire. I’m not sure how many more shots like this I’m going to get.
This has been a summer of letting go, of learning, little by little, to release my hold on the way I want things to be. It’s been a summer of watching my boy grow up, of welcoming the young man he is becoming. It’s been a summer of redefining my role as a mom and redefining what summer looks like for my family. I can’t say it’s been easy. But it has been necessary. And the summer? It didn’t look at all like our usual summer. It was completely different. And still very, very good.