Not only did both the parents and kiddos survive camp, but Aunt Erin survived an 8 hour drive with all 5 kids in the car – and stayed in Savannah to visit for a few days to boot! It was wonderful to have her here, and wonderful to see all the cousins enjoying each other so much. We played plenty of video games, of course, but also visited the Ellis Square fountains, fed alligators at the Crab Shack, and ate ice cream at Leopold’s. But the most amazing part was the afternoon we spent at Tybee where we found ourselves swimming with manatees! It was an unbelievable experience. The manatees were less than six feet away from us at times, and you could see their huge, hulking bodies just below the surface. When they came up for air, their fuzzy snouts poked above the water and you could hear them snort. I know it is something I will never forget. And I hope the special bond Fletcher and Lola have with their cousins is something they will never forget.
Camp Roanoke seems to have been an overwhelming success! Both kids loved their first camp experience – and spending time with their cousins. From a parent’s perspective, one of the best things about summer camp in the internet age is that the camp takes and posts photos of the kids on their website, so every now and then you can catch a glimpse into your child’s summer adventure. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see my boy’s happy face on the computer screen. There were no photos of the day campers, but my nightly conversations with Lo left me without any worries about her. Archery, climbing walls, creeking, campfires, and counselors telling tall tales (Lola is convinced they saw a python in the creek, and Fletcher swears his counselor is really in the CIA and has a bionic hand) – classic summer camp. Both kids came home exhausted, but ready to go back again next summer!
We’ve been planning it for months, and yet I was still not prepared. My babies have gone off to summer camp!!! One of the perks of teaching is that R and I are both mostly home in the summer, so our kids have never needed to go to camp. And I love that. I love that summer is down time, not rushing from one day camp or activity to another. But I also remember summers at camp as among the best times in my childhood – and I want my kids to have that experience too.
Enter Camp Roanoke, located just 30 minutes from my parents home in Virginia. Fletcher and my oldest nephew, Riley, are spending the week at sleep-away camp while Lola Gray and cousin Finn are participating in the day camp. And I am home in Savannah without children. It feels very strange . . .
This past weekend found us in Roanoke for a quick visit before sending Fletcher and Lola Gray off to camp with their cousins. Though we really only had a day and a half in Roanoke (sandwiched between loooooong 8 hour car trips to and from Savannah) we certainly made the most of our time! We swam in the (freezing cold!) pool, walked the dogs at my grandparents’ house one last time before it is sold and picked apples from my grandfather’s trees. We took in a Salem Red Sox game, and when that was rained out we headed across the way to the Salem County Fair for some carnival rides and funnel cake. The next day we swam some more and then headed out for Camp Roanoke! The visit was short, but definitely sweet.
There was a part of my brain that really wanted to make a big deal of the 4th of July this year, with a fancy cake from Pinterest and loads of friends in the back yard. But with many of our friends out of town (and our house a mess from current home improvement projects) that wasn’t in the cards this year. Instead we opted for fireworks in the park on the 3rd followed by a long and lazy day at the pool with friends on the 4th. And I have to say it was perfect. There were sparklers and ice cream and beer and friends, and when all was said and done Fletcher told me that it was an awesome party. And I definitely agree.
Somehow, we are suddenly well into summer and I haven’t posted in weeks. After our non-stop adventure last summer, things are pretty quiet around here this year. I will admit there are times when I feel like we are missing out, times when I long to hit the road see something new, do something different. I tend to over-do it sometimes, this wanting to make memories for our family. But when I stop and think about it, this summer is full of the kind of memories I want my children to have. There has been lots of time at the pool, lots of reading, lots of lounging around. We have picked blueberries, played with friends, and cheered on the Sand Gnats. And while I am shocked at how quickly July has come knocking, we still have weeks of fun ahead of us!