July 27, 2016
Susie Ma’am and I are going through a series of experiences that lead us to the question “Are we getting old?”
Three of our four children graduated from high school this year and all are counselors. This summer, our youngest entered the Senior Camper program.
We were childless when we moved here, so these milestones drive home the reality that we are no longer spring chickens.
There are several other milestones that have made me that I was getting on in years. [Note: I officially think of myself as aging, but not Susie Ma’am. I know this is illogical, but she looks like she is not aging. I think she is like The Portrait of Dorian Grey and there is a painting that is aging instead of her.]
I remember the first time a Super Bowl quarterback was younger than I was. Other milestones include younger first time Academy Award winners and a sitting president.
Happily, we are still younger than any Supreme Court Justice, but I am not sure that is the best measure of youth.
But this week I got an expected realization that time marches forward: our twin sons serve as the Trojan and Spartan leaders (Wiley is Spartan red and Liam is Spartan blus). For some reasons, this was more of a shock to me than seeing them as counselors.
First, let me explain the Trojan-Spartan tradition. Each week, we have a camp-wide competition between the Trojans and the Spartans. Every camper is initiated into a tribe and will be in that tribe “for life”. The games are spirited and fun. In fact, at times the pageantry of the event exceeds the significance of the games themselves. The leaders paint themselves up and deliver impassioned speeches. We begin with an epic canoe race between the Senior Camper Trojans and Spartans. The campers then compete in different events, ranging from trivia to tug-of-war.
We choose two boy counselors and two girl counselors to be the team leaders. One the boys side, we like to find guys that have some form of natural rivalry. In the past, we often choose counselors who were campers to be the leaders. I think this is the first time the leaders have shared a womb.
Susie Ma’am is quick to remind me that they formed a “T” in her and regularly kicked competitively. She called it “her own World Cup”. That makes this a long-dated rivalry
Anyway, I have always thought of the Trojan-Spartan leaders as being “big” personalities at camp. As I saw our boys painted head to toe, I realized that they are, in fact, big personalities at camp, not my boys. They have strong identities separate from Susie Ma’am and myself.
Next fall, they will be off to college and away from us, so I guess this will help me get ready. [Note: we do not get summer vacations with our children, so we plan to do some serious travel with all four kids between the end of summer and February. The three high graduates are taking “gap years”. We are quite excited. I will blog as we attempt to maintain our sanity on our travels.]
For our camp parents, I hope you enjoy seeing your children grow into adults as much as we have. We loved them as little children, but we simply delight in seeing what they are becoming.