5:30 yesterday afternoon found Geoff, Matt and me sitting in our van at home, ready to leave. We'd packed up for the weekend, the garage door was open and waiting for us to leave, and I'd already started the engine. And yet, there we sat for the next five minutes, listening to the rain pelt down onto the roof, and wondering (all of us in slightly grumpy moods...or was that just me, projecting?) whether we should even bother going on this weekend if the weather was going to be crappy. None of us really felt like a ninety minute drive through sheets of rain, knowing that our weekend could well end up being a soggy, dreary bust. We knew none of the other families going, and the thought of venturing into unknown relational territory for two days was a bit scary. Overall, the temptation was overwhelming to give in to the moment's desire...to pick up a movie and curl up under blankets and spend the weekend at home. Geoff finally voiced it: "Let's stay home," he said, and I heard him unbuckle his seat belt. "No, wait," I said immediately. "I don't want to make that decision so quickly."
And so we hovered in our indecision for a little longer, until I finally said: "I think we should go. Maybe this weekend will be a bust. It might totally suck. But you know what? What're we going to remember more? Staying at home for a quiet weekend, or venturing forth on an adventure to see if it might be a little better than a bust? I vote we go." A split second later, Matthew calmly added, "well, I still want to go." (He said this as if he'd never harboured a doubt - and maybe he hadn't - I don't actually recall asking for his opinion while we sat there and thought it through!) Geoff, being persuaded by my inspirational speech (but more likely realizing that it was now two against one, and knowing that I'm more stubborn than he is, and realizing that we'd already committed to paying for the weekend), graciously agreed to go. There were times, over the next two hours before we got there, when we wondered if we really were a bit crazy for driving through the inclement weather, but when we rounded that final corner and saw the lovely lodge where we'd be spending the weekend, I have to say that we all perked up a little. Moments later, when we began to meet the other people who'd come, it further reinforced our decision to come. I guess it's always better to go in with low expectations and be pleasantly surprised.
At any rate, today was quiet, but nice. The sky cleared sometime this morning and a brilliant sun slowly warmed our shoulders. Even better, in the group of fifteen children running around, Matthew found a new friend to play with, and play they did - all day! The little gaffer was so tuckered out from a shorter-than-usual night last night and a day crammed full of intense play, that he skipped dinner tonight and went straight to bed! Right now, it's 9:00 pm and he's been sleeping for over three hours already! (Hmmm...wonder what time we'll all be getting up tomorrow morning.)
One thing about homeschooled kids that I've noticed over and over is that kids of varying ages generally play very well together. A couple of weeks ago, for example, on one of our field trips, Matthew was one of about six kids ranging in age from 5 through 13, with no duplication of ages. They played brilliantly together. Similarly, Matthew's new friend of today is an almost-eleven-year-old boy, and neither of them appeared in any way bothered by their almost five-year age gap; they were pretty much inseparable from breakfast through to dinner. It was a lovely thing to see.
Anyway, with Matthew sleeping now, Geoff and I aren't wandering too far tonight. Instead, while the others are enjoying a camp fire down by the lake (and perhaps a rousing version of Kumbaya), we're sitting just outside our room in comfy chairs, relaxed with our feet propped up, chatting once in a while but mostly tapping away at our computer keyboards. I'm sure we look rather geeky sitting here with two computers, but it's working for us! The setting sun is resting warm and vibrant on Geoff's face, the lodge is totally silent, and it's great being away together for a couple of days.
A small chunk of the lodge front, where we stayed:
This was the view from the end of the dock, facing the back of the huge lodge. There were canoes and kayaks to borrow, and the kids all gravitated to the skateboard park and BMX bike area (on the far left)!
We also had our own rec room (with foosball, air hockey, pool, etc) and our own theatre (below). In the theatre, the kids loved hurling, stacking, building with, and reclining in, all of the huge cushions.
Here is Matthew (in the foreground), with his new buddy; they sat and waded here for a long time, chatting and digging with their hands and sticks.
They may have been different in age, but they certainly seemed to find lots in common!
Matthew, goofing off for the camera:
Geoff was pretty tuckered out from a heavy work week, and fell asleep for a few hours in a corner of the rec room:
Here's Geoff (with Matthew in the background, with a brown hat) at the skateboard half pipe (is that the proper terminology??):
What a lovely getaway.