July 22, 2008

Road trip

Road trip

For last few days, we've gotten a constant stream of text messages and cell phone calls from Shaggy Hair Boy, who has been at a one-week summer camp for Ultimate Frisbee in the town that Boy in Black says is the Ultimate Capital of the Universe. It's the first time any of my kids have gone to a summer camp program, and the first time that Shaggy Hair Boy has been away from home for more than a night. From the messages he's been sending to his siblings, it sounds like he's had a good time. And most importantly, to this Ultimate-obsessed family, he's been learning all kinds of Ultimate Frisbee skills.

"I've learned so much," he told me on the phone, "that right now if I played against the me of a week ago, I would shred myself."

The camp ends Thursday, and since the Ultimate Capital of the Universe is 260 miles away, I decided I'd drive down tomorrow, stay at a hotel that night, and then get to the camp at 9 am to watch the championship Ultimate game and awards ceremony that families are invited to. I figured that it might be nice to have a quiet evening to myself. Or perhaps I'd invite one of my friends to join me.

But then I found a hotel with a pool and decided that maybe I should see if With-a-Why wanted to come. He does love a hotel pool. Then Boy in Black said he wanted to come, and maybe bring Skater Boy too. And my daughter has these two days free so she's coming as well.

Suddenly, it's a road trip.

Boy in Black says he'll be in charge of the music. Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter said, "We have to get food, of course. Snacks. And drinks."

We'll be driving through farm land, mostly, fields that shimmer gold and green during summer rain showers. For the first time ever, I have a car with air conditioning, so we'll be comfortable no matter how hot and humid the weather gets. We'll get to meet the kids and counselors that Shaggy Hair has been with all week and we'll get to watch them play some Ultimate. And of course, the most exciting part will be the drive home, when we'll all get to hear Shaggy Hair's stories about his week away from home.


BlackenedBoy said...

This is absolutely adorable. My first night alone also came when I was seventeen: shortly after we moved to Southern State, my parents went to Hick State to visit our mother's relatives, leaving me and a fifteen-year-old Powell with the house to ourselves.

We'd eagerly greeted the opportunity to spend time away from our parents, but when the night finally came were so scared that we wound up sleeping together in their bed.

Although I've said it before, I'll say again how wonderful I think your children's relationship with you is.

Powell is eighteen and barely even stays the night at our house anymore, but Boy-in-Black, at twenty, rushed to take a road trip with you.

I think that's very sweet.

I hope you enjoy what sounds like a delightful trip.

concretegodmother said...

mmmmmmm! i LOVE "fields that shimmer gold and green during summer rain showers!" i LOVE rainy summer road trips! jealous jealous jealous. :-) have fun!!!

dance said...

Shimmer gold and green, plus the picture, was beautiful.

Something that frequently occurs to me when I read about your wonderful loving family, though, is that I have to admit that I tend to look at my freshman who live less than two hours from the school and are away from home for the first time and go back to their parents' frequently, and feel that's a bad thing, that they've been circumscribed and limited in their lives. Your blog shows me the other side of that story, and that traveling and distance *aren't* an essential part of raising healthy, mature children, but it strikes me, every time. And I do wonder what you think about it.

Although, it can't be the first time Shaggy Hair Boy has been away from home for more than a night. There was that trip to Pacific coast? Are you defining "home" as "with family in some way"?

jodi said...

Your games at home will never be the same!! I love the photo. The gold color is such a contrast to the green. Have a good trip.

Jennifer said...

"If I played against the me of a week ago, I would shred myself." Love this. Though, if he did shred his week-ago self, then his present self wouldn't have all those new skills. In which case he wouldn't be able to shred himself... Thinking about time travel makes my head explode...

jo(e) said...

Dance: You're right. I meant "away from his family." I wasn't counting trips with his parents and siblings as being "away from home."

As for your other question, I think it depends on the kid and the family. One of the reasons I encouraged Shaggy Hair Boy to go to this camp is that I thought it would be good for him at this stage in his life to be away from the family for a week.

Mostly, though, I think the conventional thinking that it's good for young people to be away from home and be entirely immersed in a culture that consists almost entirely of college students -- well, I see the flaws in that. There are so many unhealthy parts of that culture -- the pressure to drink, to party, to care about what you look like.

Boy in Black has been home very often during his first two years of college, but I knew he would find friends and like-minded people -- and he did find them, on the Ultimate team and in his classes.

BerryBird said...

I bet your family will make a pretty raucous cheering block at the championship game.

BenBirdy1 said...

Dear Jo(e),

Alas, we are heading out to Peninsula Named After a Fish! Otherwise, I would try to see you while you were here in Ultimate Capital of the World, where I happen to live. And by "see" I do mean "pose naked for" of course.

Eat at Fresh Side in town. Super vegan-friendly and really, really good.

Happy travels.

xo Catherine

Phantom Scribbler said...

I am completely tempted to drag the kids out there tomorrow and meet you. Except for that whole "it's supposed to pour" thing.

dance said...

Thanks, Jo(e). I actually hadn't connected "away from home" as a cause of "immersed in drinking culture" in my mind, but of course that's a side effect.

jo(e) said...

Catherine: I can't believe I missed a chance to meet you! And of course, take a naked photo of you. Next time ....

Phantom: We need to do a better job coordinating the weather. All it did was rain, rain, rain.

Yankee, Transferred said...

What fun!