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Full Circle

The twins recently went on outdoor ed.  The sixth grade goes away for three days to a campsite where they do nature-based assignments and team work activities.  They had campfires and night hikes and slept in cabins.  They came home caked with mud, tracking in bits of dried leaves when they pulled off their boots.

Josh and I volunteered both evenings.  It was partly for the twins but it was partly for me.  Thirty years ago, I went to outdoor ed in the exact same place.

*******

It smelled the same.  If you had asked me prior to walking into the main building what the campsite smelled like, I would have shrugged.  But then I got there and breathed in and was instantly transported back 30 years.  It looked the same, minus the graffiti in our cabin and a missing tetherball set.  Even the fence where I released my pet potato bug* was still there in all of its splinter-giving glory.

I liked outdoor ed — I have fond memories of my week at the campsite. (We got a full week, kids.  Welcome to budget cuts.)  But I didn’t give the experience that much thought until I was sitting near the fireplace, watching the kids enjoying the evening activity, and felt my chest get tight as I realized that I would probably never be back in the space again.  We only get to go full circle once.

One spin through elementary school.  One return to outdoor ed.  One B’nai Mitzvah, one trip to get driver’s licenses, one graduation.

One is definitely more than none, but I am surrounded by people who get to do everything two or three times so it is constantly on my mind.  It’s a testament to no matter how much you promise to be satisfied with what you get, the heart still wants more when the actuality of your family doesn’t match the dream family that popped into your brain when you giddily started down this road.

I am grateful that I get the once.  My heart still longs to do everything two or three times.

* I didn’t have a lot of female friends when I was in sixth grade, and I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the boys’ cabin, but I did find a potato bug on the first day at camp, and I placed him in my empty film container from my camera.  He kept me company for the week, but I sadly let him go on the last day.

5 comments

1 knottedfingers { 12.04.16 at 1:31 pm }

These kind of things still get me also. The ‘I should be able to do this again but I can’t. This is the last time’ :/ It’s rough but also good because I do get to do it twice. I get these feelings

2 Jodi { 12.04.16 at 5:00 pm }

I also remember outdoor ed as a week but I have no idea where we went. Michael’s is not until Feb and I have zero interest in chaperoning. Good for you.

3 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.04.16 at 6:16 pm }

I’m almost crying.

I wish I could reach out and hug you.

Sending you a potato bug probably wouldn’t help. Would it?

4 Mali { 12.07.16 at 3:54 am }

This. “It’s a testament to no matter how much you promise to be satisfied with what you get, the heart still wants more when the actuality of your family doesn’t match the dream family that popped into your brain when you giddily started down this road.”

I’ve had my own reminder of that recently. I know the truth of your words. Sending hugs.

5 loribeth { 12.10.16 at 7:48 am }

I’m envious… not just that you have kids 😉 and that you get to repeat your own past with them, but also that you are able to do so in such specific ways. I moved around so much as a kid, and even if we had kids, we now live a long, long way from any of the places where I grew up. I recognize there are pros & cons to being rooted and learning to adapt to different places and ways of doing things. But how much fun to be able to share something like that with them. 🙂

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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