Summer has arrived at last! Friday was my last day of school. I’ve got the next eight weeks off to do with as I like and believe me, I’m looking forward to them. The first weekend of my vacation started off well. Friday when I got home my wife had the motor home pretty well packed and ready to go. I helped her finish and by four we were headed out to Prado Regional Park in Chino where my oldest son had reserved spaces for the family. It was the first time our three families have taken our motor homes out together.
I really wasn’t particularly looking forward to spending Father’s Day weekend camping with the family. It just didn’t sound like my idea of a good time. Usually I like to spend Father’s Day quietly at home, my daughter says it’s what I do best, and I do! But I must confess, camping with the kids was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It brought back a lot of fond memories of camping days past when the kids were younger. Yes Spending the entire weekend with my kids and grandkids was really an awesome experience. It gave the grown ups a chance to relax, catch up and reconnect, while the grandkids had hours and hours of fun. They really had a blast! And they all behaved pretty well, even the two little ones who are both eighteen months old. Oh there were a few minor skirmishes and a few tears as well, but all in all they did pretty good! As a matter of fact so did the adults! We didn’t need a referee once. There were no arguments, heated discussions or hurt feelings, just good old fashion family time. A good time was had by all.
I have to say it was a pretty awesome feeling being out there with my kids and their families. I enjoyed watching the interaction of my adult children with each other and with the grandkids. It was nice to see our family so at ease and at play. There were times when a trip like this probably wouldn’t have worked so well. Like families everywhere there have been occasions when disagreements and in-fighting between siblings and even between my kids and my wife or I have cast a shadow on family gatherings. Oh we might have still gotten together, maybe even done a camping thing, but there would have been an underlying current of tension in the air as we went through the motions with our empty words and plastic smiles simply tolerating one another. There’s nothing worse than feigning contentment, eventually someone’s mask would crack and believe me, there would be words. Actually there were words! But not this weekend, this weekend was special. There was no pretense, no masks or phony smiles. This weekend was genuine. The laughter, the excitement, the emotion and love.
It was truly heartwarming to be a part of it all. We enter parenthood with no experience other than what we saw in our own homes which can be both positive and negative. We raise our kids with the hope of making it a little easier than it was for us as I’m sure our parents did with us. We try to teach them skills, values, and life lessons that we hope will stick and help them develop into loving and caring adults. It’s not an easy job being a parent. It’s tough knowing exactly what to do and when to do it, what not to do, or what to say or not to say. It’s even tougher when you get married young and began having children when you’re still developing yourselves. I know we made plenty of parenting mistakes, especially me, but we must have done more things right than wrong, because this weekend what I saw on our little family camping trip made me extremely proud of my three children. They’ve developed into incredible adults and fine parents as evidenced this entire Father’s Day weekend. I’m glad I was there to share in the experience and look forward to our next family camping getaway.