How I Spent My Summer Vacation


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Last week, I packed up 3 enormous duffle bags from Uncle Dan’s, 4 carry-on backpacks (well, 3 backpacks and my Marc Jacobs XL nylon hobo bag), a number of electronic devices that begin with the letter “i”, and boarded a plane with my husband, 4-year old son and 2-year old daughter to the great North Woods.

Ok, the plane only took us as far as Minneapolis, but we drove another 6 hours (4 without kids) up to the family camp at Camp Thunderbird for Boys. Now, having been a Thunderbird for Girls camper and counselor for a pretty large chunk of my life (they say it never completely leaves the system), I had a good idea of what to expect. Turns out, once a camper, always a camper.

My husband and kids, on the other hand, were never campers in the first place.

So how would the little ones and my one big guy adapt to the bugs, the sand roads, the communal bathrooms and 1/2″ thick mattresses?

I’m proud to say, the kids did more than fine. They loved every minute of camp. And I loved watching my kids love every minute of camp. Especially because I didn’t actually have to watch them every minute! Turns out that you can’t get hit by a car or kidnapped (two of my urban fears) in the middle of a camp that only has dirt trails and guests who are friends with children of their own.

***Please note*** Letting my kids be kids, and not telling them not to touch something, or to hold my hand to cross the street, or to stay where I could see them every second, was the best stress release I’ve had since my first born popped out. For you parents who go through your days holding your breath and don’t think you’ll exhale until the kids leave for college 10-15 years from now, go to camp.

So as I said, my kids were in heaven…all 4 of us sleeping in one room in our own cabin and walking outside with flashlights to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night was awesome for them-but for my husband…well…not so much.

Now don’t get me wrong. My husband had fun and can more than handle everything I’ve described in terms of our room and board. But to say that he wasn’t thrilled when I told him there was a baby bat hanging upside down on the window above our bed would be an understatement.

Nor was he psyched when he woke me up to tell me that something was moving in our garbage can. He definitely didn’t enjoy watching the “moving thing” run across the floor moments later as he investigated. In our family, Mickey Mouse is the only mouse we think is cute, and to be honest, if he came to life, we wouldn’t want anything to do with him.

To top it off, all the kids at camp seemed to love the leeches in the lake, but their curiosity about the little parasites bewildered my husband to no end. He must have asked me 100 times if I knew there were leeches in the lake, and if I knew they suck blood? I guess I could have mentioned them before we got in the lake, but I forgot because in all honesty, they don’t bother me.

Good thing I never told him about the ticks. He may have just packed up and headed home.

But despite the bugs, rodents, sleeping arrangements and the sand that will be falling from my shoes, clothes, hair and lord knows where else for the next few months, we all had a blast! We had a type of quality time together that the four of us just don’t get at home in the city.

My kids played so hard everyday that they slept late each morning-I’m talking teenager-missed-breakfast-let’s-try-to-make-lunch-late. And my husband loved spending time with us, making S’mores at the campfire, and watching me try to waterski on one ski for the first time in nearly two decades.

For me, I loved being with my kids everyday of our trip, but one of my very favorite moments at camp was a game of uninterrupted ping pong that I played with my husband. Now, that might not sound so incredible or even important enough to mention, but for a couple that spends most of our time either online working or taking care of 2 kids and a pretty needy, yet adorable, dog, that game meant a lot to me. It sounds corny, but it was good old fashion, non-trendy-dinner-or-charity-event-fun, so it will be something I remember when I think back on our vacation.

Well, that and the S’mores!

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