After my friend Anne passed away, my non-sexual life partner (NSLP), Robin, and I promised Anne's 12 year old twin boys that we would take them camping at the lake this summer. This was something Anne often did with her children and sometimes Robin and her children and Sid and I would tag along. Sid and I are not really ‘campers’, I do enjoy camping quite a bit, but Sid has never been one for spending great amounts of time outside. After finally being able to find a weekend where both Robin and her fiancée, Becca, and I were all free, we finally packed up the twins and their grandmother and headed off to Lake Afton.
At first, I thought after all that planning I wasn’t going to be able to join them for the weekend. I dehydrated myself on Wednesday and on Thursday was quite ill and worn out, but thankfully, with some rest and lots of water, by Friday at 6pm, I felt well enough to load up the car with more food than anyone needs to eat in two days and off I went.
I arrived at the lake around 7:30pm, in time to watch the sunset go down slow and sweetly over the lake and laugh as the boys worked on setting up my burrowed tent while I lounged in a chair and chatted with the ‘grown-ups’ (we are not really grown in most ways). I opened a bot of crackers and some cheese and laughed as I passed it around to the boys. I forgot how much boys can eat sometimes. After we ate a pound of cheese and the whole box of crackers, those two still ate hot dogs and hamburgers. They must be growing, even though I often scold them for doing so. I still think of them as little babies and not almost teenagers.
Around, 11, I retired to my tent to start my one personal goal for the weekend—to read all those back issues of The New Yorker. As soon as I climb in my tent and snuggled in with a magazine, Edward, caught the biggest catfish caught all weekend. It was his first catch and he was beyond excited as his Auntie Robin showed him the correct way to hold the fish so we could take pictures of the moment.
Saturday, started off hot and sunny, but I still managed to sleep in till 10am. I drank the cold press coffee I made a few days before and tried to get Edward to eat all sort of things he doesn’t like. Finally he agreed to an everything bagel and the mom in me felt better knowing he started the day with some food in his belly. We spent the day floating around of the lake, drinking half cold beer, swinging in the hammock and I read three back issues of The New Yorker. The sun was hot but there was enough wind that it felt fine to be outside. There were fish caught and released and smores made over a fire pit. It felt like mission accomplished in so many ways. We had two decently happy kids, (one is a little moody which is to be accepted with 12 year olds.), relaxed adults, cold beer, and more food than we needed. The boys even were able to go to the Lake Afton Public Observatory and were able to see the rings of Saturn through the big telescope with Becca’s mama who stopped by to visit after dinner.
Sunday, we packed up and headed back home. It's amazing how much work goes into to putting up and tearing down a campsite, but it's worth the work. Robin told the boys that we had to leave the lake better than we found it and so we picked up all the trash we could find before we left. I was proud of them for how much they learned and did over out two nights there. I know they miss their mother and that we can't replace her, but I am glad that we could give them just a couple of days without as much grief where they could be just kids and relax.
I drove the boys home and was proud of myself for not getting lost on the way back since my phone had died and I was without GPS. I also almost escaped getting sunburned. Almost.
The rest of Sunday was spent napping and watering my begonias and reading emails from a too far away important character in my life, but that is a story still unfolding and for another time—maybe.