I would call myself a tradionalist, not in my viewpoints, but rather I am one who appreciates traditions. Things need to have meaning for me. The things I keep in my house, things that I display, carry memories that are important to me. In my office I have several pieces of pottery that I made in elementary school...coil pots, pinch pots, a little bunny that is lopsided because he only has one foot. I loved creating those...I can still remember the smell of the art room. I have every piece of sea glass I have ever found. I recently put them in a bottle of sand from a beach on the Cape. I love looking at that bottle every day...it reminds me of the Cape where I grew up and all the trips I have taken with my family when I found each piece. Everything in my house has a story....a story of its own and a story of how it came to be a piece of me.
Last weekend was very meaningful for me in many ways. We spent our last camping weekend of the season in Vermont. Traveling throughout the remote VT roads made me think of a trip that Tim and I took early on in our relationship. His parents had a place at Loon Mountain and we stayed there one weekend during the fall. We spent a day driving between the VT/NH border watching fields of green diving into the sparkling blue Connecticut River. We often rode in silence, while other times we talked about building a future together. We stopped at antique stores and poked around for treasures and found quaint places for lunch and dinner. I know that when the kids are grown up and have their own lives, that is what we will spend our days doing...traveling, enjoying small town America, being comfortable in our silence, while also having fun, thought provoking conversations. Last Saturday, the four of us spent the day exploring Southern Vermont, in much the same way. We went from Bennington, to Brattleboro, to Newfane, to Wilmington, and back around to Pownal, where our campground was.
It sounds idyllic, doesn't it? I guess I'm leaving out the part about the kids watching Seinfeld DVD's and being forced to look out the window from time to time...."Look at that beautiful view!" we would say. They would try and tear themselves away from George and Kramer, quickly look, and give a quick smile just to appease us. Occasionally they would ask "Are we almost done with this?" and I would throw them some candy to quiet them down. Other times, the drive was just too long for them and at one point they broke out in a full WWF smackdown because Mimi's foot touched Jack's leg. We aren't dating anymore....welcome to parenthood.
Throughout the weekend, we also spent some time with Tim's sister and her family, and his parents, who were at his sister's new place in Wardsboro, VT. The place is a kid's dream...tons of acres to run around, a pond to fish in, little critters to catch and hunt. They had a blast, and yet they spent the day without tv, video games, and ipods. Instead, they ran outside all day, they used their minds to create games, and they explored nature. Not once did they say they were bored. This is how I remember spending my days as a child...just outside, playing with friends all day. We used our creativity to make the day fun and interesting. When we got home, Jack just wanted to go outside and play. He ran down to the stream to look for salamanders, and Mimi went out to her playhouse. Every once in awhile, kids just need to be reminded to be kids.
On our way home, we stopped in Williamstown, which truly looks like a Hollywood New England Town. It was parents weekend at Williams college and we jokingly described our arrival at their parents' weekends in the future. "Imagine your friends faces when we pull up in our RV and plug into your dorm!" I think Mimi passed out. Literally. Jack yelled "Nooo!! You wouldn't really do that would you?" I pledged to them that we would stay in a hotel while Timothy promised he would make sure we didn't run into any "sewer issues" with the RV on campus. Before we know it, they will be going off to college. That's why I love this time with them. We will forever look back on these few years and all the travels we have taken, all the experiences we have had, with great fondness and laughter. Some day, in the not so distant future, we will be sitting at parents weekend, having dinner, laughing about the time we threatened to bring our RV to visit, and then the conversation will turn to that weekend and what a great time we had in VT.
I love that every Columbus Day weekend we take our last camping trip of the season. It's a tradition for us. I love that when we get up in the morning, we need hats and gloves when we go outside. I love building a big fire at the end of the day, putting on our coats, and making smores for dessert. I love that we snuggle under thick blankets and sleeping bags at the end of the day and discuss our day in the dark before drifing off to sleep. Of course that moment, right before we drift off to sleep, is usually broken by cries of "Can you tell him to move over...he is on my side of the bed!" and "She is looking at me and I'm trying to go to sleep!" Ah, tradition...what would we do without it?