Ah, summer! Every year, our family starts off our summer vacation by heading to the lake for some camping, fishing, good food, and family connections! This tradition started when our oldest was just a baby. We’d load up the tent, air mattress, etc. and head south to a place called Otter Creek. This “creek” is really a large, beautiful lake, full of fish of every kind. Grandpa and grandma had a baby life jacket, and we bundled up our little guy for his first ever fishing trip when he was just over a year old. Even at that young age, Nathan seemed to love the lake.
Year after year, as our family grew, we would head back down to our retreat at Otter Creek every Memorial Day weekend. It signified the beginning of summer. The last day of school was always the Thursday or Friday before Memorial Day. (We graduated to a trailer as our family grew.) We spent the last week of school cleaning and loading the trailer a little at a time each night. After school on the last day, the kids rushed home, packed their clothes and anything else they wanted, and then waited for me. I am a teacher, and it always takes a little longer to leave on the last day of school. My room needed to be ‘put away’, treasures and gifts from students were carefully boxed to bring home, and I needed a moment for a sigh of relief! When I finally returned home, I packed and we were off! We often arrived at our campsite between 10:00 pm and midnight. Trying our hardest to make the truck sound quiet (which is impossible), we would back into our spot and immediately put the kids to bed. We spent the weekend relaxing, fishing, and thoroughly enjoying one another. Watching the little ones bait and try to cast their own poles was priceless! Playing in the water with the water toys, pulling the kids behind the boat on the tube, riding scooters and bikes around the campground, and going for walks with the stroller are some favorite memories of mine.
This tradition continues to this day. Only now, our kids are married, and we have a beautiful little grandson. The kids love to get together as adults, because we made it a tradition when they were children. So, young families, if you think it’s too much of a hassle to get the little ones out for family adventures, you may be missing out on a lifetime of memories!