Tomorrow morning, the triplets will be starting seventh grade, and their first year in Junior High School. Henry will be starting the fourth grade at his school, but this also marks his final year in elementary school - before he moves on to middle school next year for fifth grade. The days are indeed long, and the years far too short.
With that in mind, I'm so grateful that Charlie and I were able to take off four weeks this summer to spend such awesome quality time with our children. Believe me: nothing brings you together quite like 22 nights in a tent. There is so much to write about - the incredible places that we visited - and the genuinely amazing people that we met at virtually every stop. With all of the negative news and political vitriol that seems to be oozing from every outlet, it reassured our faith in humanity to take this trip and cross paths with such great people. There really are great people everywhere. Okay, so there are some crazy people, too …. but they are like the salt you add to a dish. When handled properly, they give life wonderful flavor.
Hopefully, unlike last year - I'll be successful in my quest to get those thoughts and pictures jotted down before our summer of 2018 vacation begins.
Exactly two weeks ago, we wandered from our campsite to a breathtaking glacial lake, and lamented that there wasn't a marina, so we could rent a boat. Our lamentations didn't last long, because we met a fellow camper named Tim, who was situated elsewhere in the park, but was visiting this particular lake with his wife, and their two children, who were the same age as our kids. And they just so happened to have multiple kayaks and a paddle board that they were more than happy to share.
We took Tim up on his generous offer, and as I paddled out to the middle of this lake with my children, I had everyone pull their boats together and join me for a moment of silence. There aren't enough words in our vocabulary to capture the beauty of this place, and no photographs could ever do it any justice.
In this sacred space, I told the children that whatever highs or lows await them this year - or in life, for that matter - I want for them to remember this moment. This moment of beauty, peace, love, magic, and exhilaration from the tips of their fingers to the tips of their toes. I told them that they are the beloved children of Charlie and I … and also, of God. Just like the breathtaking views all around us, they are wonderfully made and they have PURPOSE. They are comprised of an energy that is designed to do tremendous good, and their mission is to bring great love and strength every where they go.
(Also wet willies.)
Tonight, as I was tucking our pensive children in to bed, I reminded them of this kayaking moment and time we spent together at Bowman Lake within Glacier National Park. I reminded each of them that they are a gift to this world, so as they go about their new school year - I pray that they do their best. Keep their backs straight, shoulders and chin up, make eye contact - and smile. Be kind to everyone, and especially keep an eye and hand out for those kids who are alone or different. Equally important to the academic education they will be receiving, is the socialization and compassion that they learn to exert for the fellow travelers on their path of life. So at the end of each class, they must remember to always walk to the front and sincerely say goodbye and thank you to their teachers, too.
As I concluded our bedside discussions, I told each of the triplets, and Henry, individually, that the pressure will undoubtedly be ramping up both academically and socially, so if they are ever feeling completely overwhelmed with it all, just let me know. I'm ready at a moment's notice to pull the plug, hit the road, and camp through the other 48 National Parks in the United States. They know very well that I mean it, which is likely why all four of them flipped over, pulled their covers up over their heads and exclaimed, "OH NO! MOM. WE'LL BE TOTALLY FINE!"
Something tells me, they aren't fully recovered from our camping adventure, just yet.