Each summer from when I was a kid through college, I attended and worked at the same summer camp. My own kids went there for a summer or two and didn’t like it so they don’t have camp experiences and memories of canoeing in the pond, tye dye making in the woods, scary stories of Cropsy at sleepovers, writing camp jingles and indulging in bug juice and melted Popsicles.
Summers Today – My perception
Today, many kids have extravagant summers which would break the break for most families, especially a family with four kids. The summers where kids ship their luggage to camp two weeks early, see a Broadway show as a “break” from being at camp in the mountains; longing for parents to bring a charged iPhone 7 on visiting day, care packages filled with candy to keep dentists in practice, etc. This experience sounds amazing, but lots of kids have none of that – fending for themselves while parents and guardians are working, hanging out at the community pool, too much screen time, etc.
A Brody Bunch Summer – activity interest camps & Pittsburgh
Our kids are having their first babysitter free summer ever, it was kind on my pocketbook, but required incredible work flexibility to shuttle four kids from local theater camps, soccer and baseball camps and Pittsburgh. And, through the chaos, I realized that this summer was more unique than other typical summers, because we had the gift of togetherness, which shaped our summer of Brody Bunch Reflection.
Days of Connecting
Our kids’ paternal grandparents live in Pittsburgh. With aging grandparents, the kids have been taking turns going with their Dad for quick somewhat weekly visits. It’s about a 10 hour round trip drive and a couple of days visiting. I have had stay-cations with the kids remaining at home. When some of our kids are in Pittsburgh and some remain home, the man to man parenting defense ratio is reduced to two kids hanging out with one parent for a few days. It’s time filled with lots of ball playing on their Dad’s watch or dining out on my watch. This has been our summer of Reflection.
Brody Bunch Bonding
Through time on the baseball diamond, basketball court, in the car or around the dinner table, we have had such thoughtful conversations. Our kids attending theater camps have been writing heartfelt monologues. We have been listening to a lot of song lyrics and talking about the messages and lessons, answering a lot of questions and singing loudly. We talk about health and death, reminisce about years past and look towards the future. While we are excited for time at the beach, where the heavy reflection shines her mystical and complicated head, I can tell that we have already planted seeds for much growing to come. Camp Brody wasn’t filled with exotic travels and adventures, but our hearts did a lot of exploring, loving, laughing, crying and growing. This summer, time allowed our family foundation to build a stronger base. The journey is what it’s about.