Down the Trail
My son Ben is going on a backpacking trip to the Porcupine Mountains tomorrow with a friend and his brother and father. After a single night in a tent, they are hiking in about 5 miles and staying in a "cabin" shelter that has no electricity or running water. It's basically just a roof over your head. It's a few steps above the tent, especially given as cold as it will be.
I have to say I'm a little jealous. My wife reminded me that only two weeks ago I was fishing up north, so would have a hard time justifying another trip. At the same time, I like the thought of a trip where you're not hiking X number of miles per day, but rather a single, long hike to a cabin. Furthermore, it'd be a chance to get one more snowless (relatively) adventure in before winter.
Needless to say, the trip was planned they'll go off tomorrow. But tonight as I helped Ben pack, it occurred to me how big/mature he's getting. One of his packing techniques involved rolling his shirt and underwear into a tube which was pulled over by his wool socks. I asked him where he learned that trick and he said that he'd found it on the web.
Then when I started to pack his pack he showed me a diagram of how to pack a pack that he'd also found online. And while I was impressed that he'd done his research - on his own, nonetheless - I was also felt a little twinge of nostalgia, because it appears he's hit another stage of independence that I didn't expect and kind of resent a little, honestly.
Now, I know we're supposed to be happy when our kids start asserting their independence, but I ---guess I was hoping it wouldn't come on so strong. With our daughter out of the house, I need just a little more time to be "needed," and this wasn't helping.
One of the things I allude to in my book Dirty Shirt is that by exposing our kids to the outdoors and wilderness, we instill a love and respect of it to them. The fact that he has been looking forward to this "survival trip" for months, shows me that I think I've succeeded. Add to that his ability to plan and pack for himself and it tells me that he's growing up in a hurry.
My wife told me a funny related story to all of this that proves the fact again, She said when she told Sarah that Ben was going on a 3 night campout/backpack trip in the Porcupine Mountains, Sarah said, "Ugh, I'm jealous!"
It seems they've both got the outdoors bug.
By the way, I love how your bare your heart and all its aches and fears, in your writing. You "go there," and it makes the writing all the more engaging and real. Thank you for sharing! You are awesome.