Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Father’s Day at Bear Lake

When our first few kids were young, we could adventure off any time we chose to. We’d go on work trips with Mike to California. We spent a September in GA. And, when we first lived in WA, we could come back to visit family any time we chose. It was a bit of a shock when our kids began school and we had to start working our vacations around weekends and school holidays. (I suppose that alone might be reason enough to consider homeschool! And perhaps might truly be . . . if we travelled more than we actually do.) But now, they have taken things further, these kids of ours! Why, even when we plan get-aways during perfectly reasonable school-free days, it is beginning to be that our older kids have their own scheduling conflicts!


Abe will have to work, there will be some gathering with friends they are loathe to miss, some church activity they have committed to, some school dance, a weekend bike meet, or other such nonsense (yes yes . . . I know, it isn’t all nonsense). Still, it has made our Bear Laking just a bit more complicated than it has been in the past. And, after planning on Memorial Day weekend up there, and then cutting it down one day due to one thing and another day due to another thing (and finally cancelling it altogether), I was incredibly eager to get up there, as we did, over Father’s Day weekend.


While we spend a lot of time riding four wheelers on the dirt roads near our cabin, going to the lake, hiking, or sitting out on the deck, the kids don’t typically play much directly around the outside of the cabin itself as it is primarily covered in prickly weeds (despite Mike’s efforts to have pasture grass take over). So, this trip, Mike and Abe put together a trampoline and swing set just outside the basement door of our cabin. They then weed-whacked the surrounding area and spread out several truckloads of woodchips. (And hopefully we’ll add a hammock or two eventually.) It was fun having the kids all out there or watching them swing and jump while sitting on the deck above them. And I think it will make for a much more pleasant “waiting area” when we are taking four-wheeler turns.


Abe commented on how strange it was that the younger kids probably wouldn’t remember the cabin now without this little playground area. And then someone else commented on how strange it was that they very well might not remember cabin trips with Abe!


That was a sad thought! And yet, it got me thinking a bit about how things play out when you have children over a long space of time. In my own family, my older siblings talk all of the time about “the old house” (one I never lived in), about the time when there were no trees lining our backyard, about our family dog Chester, and about the three grandparents I never knew (and they can never get over the strangeness of me not having known them). And, in truth, . . . all my own memories of growing up going to Bear Lake are made up of trips with none of my siblings but the two closest in age to me. Strange things to consider.


But! For now, all nine of my little people are together for these excursions, and, I shall do my best to aid their memories by writing about (and taking one billion pictures of) each of these trips! And if that isn’t enough. Well, I will remember for them.


The weather was a bit chilly this trip. But we still took the wave runner out (its first Bear Lake trip). And we still got shakes – wet and cold as we were, and late as it was.


And before we end: Waiting for pizza. And . . . Mette when she had decided (seemingly all at once) that she was done being cold and sandy (don’t feel too terrible looking at her dear, sad, little face – she had a glorious time riding the wave runner with me, she gleefully destroyed several siblings’ sand castles, and the shake she got shortly after these pictures restored her to full and complete joy).



Kara said...


Beautify Pacify said...

So happy that you got to spend your time at Bear Lake all together. It looks like a wonderful place, and I can't get over the cuteness of all your kids (well, cute might not really totally apply to Abe,handsome might be more appropriate now, oh my, he really is a young man isn't he?). And I am in love with the picture of lil' hands joining together; I have taken the same pics myself, and I find they mean so much, they condense so much love and family life and likemindedness!

Linn said...

"Well, I will remember for them."

This made me sob. My boy leaves for his mission in just over three weeks and I don't even know what to do with these feelings I'm feeling. And the thought that my youngest two will remember more of life WITHOUT him here than WITH him here is breaking my heart. So thank you dear friend. This line means everything to me.

So much gratitude and love for you...

Nancy said...

Val -- Yes! It's when I look at still pictures of Abe that I am always a bit shocked at how much he is . . . NOT a little kid! I still think of myself as raising small children and can hardly believe that there are these older ones stretching to adulthood already!

And I agree about the hand holding. I like when one small image or gesture seems to encompass the beauty and truth of much much bigger things.

Nancy said...

Oh Linn!!! Ohhhhh. I have been thinking lately about kids leaving on missions. When my dad died I was shocked at how I had simplified the process and emotions as I'd seen a million other people go through the same thing. And lately I have been realizing that sending a child off on a mission will be the same. That I will be overcome by how complicated and complex and overwhelming and NOT SIMPLE my emotions will be. It feels like SUCH a big thing you are about to embark on. Not just your son. But you. And your whole family.

And it is startling to think about what I was writing about here -- about younger kids memories of life at home not filled with "life with ALL their siblings at home". It seems insane to me that someday I will just have this younger set around the home and impossible that they could exist here WITHOUT their older siblings living here. But . . . there won't just be a void there. Instead they will have unique and equally wonderful memories -- growing up writing letters to and praying for missionary siblings, memories helping plan weddings and being in love with nieces and nephews, etc. etc. All these marvelous new relationships and phases will play out that you will love just as much (well . . . maybe NOT just as much the part where your son is completely gone for two years! though there will be compensating wonderful things your family will share there I'm certain). But I always feel in AWE and so grateful for the variety of relationships and experiences I got to have be having my older siblings be almost second parents to me, and then siblings my age who I experienced the traditional growing up with, and then older in-law siblings and my older siblings' kids who were more like younger siblings to me. So much variety and happiness!

But. I know. It overwhelms me every time I try to imagine it for my own family. And you are at the edge of SUCH big big enormous stuff. So much love to you!!!!!

Nancy said...

Also, Linn, I do actually think that our kids have a better chance of actually remembering all this stuff vividly thanks to all the documenting we can so easily do these days. Instagram, Chatbooks, blog books, etc. I’ve noticed Abe and Daisy seem to remember things from when they were small that they shouldn’t be able to (when just considering their age), but do because they’ve seen pictures, etc of the events all their lives. I didn’t grow up with pictures and blog posts of all of the activities with my older siblings. So . . . we can cross our fingers for clear memories for our younger kids!

Linn said...

Thank you so much for what you shared Nancy! Man, I'm so grateful for you.

Marilyn said...

Oh, this is all so great! Because I'm here! And now I know what it all looks like and where things are, and I can imagine everything _outside_ the frame of your pictures! It's lovely! But you are much more experienced at knowing what to bring. Like camp chairs to sit on! And sand toys, for crying out loud! But we have loved every minute so far.

I have been gradually having the same realization about kids and missions and family changes, over the last few years as MY friends have begun to send their children out. It is so interesting how my perspective on it has gradually shifted to the point of view of "but what does this mean for the family? And what will happen to MY heart as my kids go through the hard things?" But I like what you said to Linn about hanging on to the memories, and the compensatory times in the lives of younger kids. There are things my siblings talk about I've always felt kind of cheated out of--quotes from books they'd all laugh at, and then say "Oh, you remember that...from 'The Gunniwolf!" and I'd have no idea. But I still feel like we all share a common set of experiences. And I did get to write to them on their missions, etc.

Anyway. Interesting new stages coming up!

Nancy said...

I’m so happy you were there! And MORE happy that you loved it! (And of course, we’ve discussed how thrilled I was about your own judgement of our precious little Zipz! :))

And it is interesting with the “common set of experiences” with older siblings. Even though some weren’t living at home for ANY of my growing up memories, we all share a lot of the exact same memories about Bear Lake trips and other things.

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