Enter a weekend unplugged at a friend's cabin. Sort of like camping in the woods but with a roof over my head, a bed, toilet and kitchen but still no phone, TV, computer or even radio. My idea of a perfect camping weekend.
We spent time together as a family just hanging out. No big plans, no organized activities we were simply together. One night as Isabelle was teaching John "go fish" and I was teaching Jake cribbage I realized something terrible, I have completely neglected teaching my son the valuable life skill of shuffling cards. How has he made it to 16 without learning this skill? I was horrified by my neglect and endeavored to correct this travesty immediately. He didn't master the skill this weekend but by the end of the night was showing signs of improvement.
A life skill I kept telling him. As I taught I started thinking about where I learned this life skill, at my grandparents cabin. I thought about the summers I spent at the cabin sitting around the table just like Jake and I were doing and playing cards. UNO was a favorite and learning to shuffle that huge deck of cards was a challenge. I loved watching my grandmother and her friends shuffle the cards and worked very hard learning to shuffle them together and then do the bridge just like they did. They were always patient, helpful and encouraging as I worked at it.
I thought about all that time spent at the cabin as a child away from real life and just being. While we didn't have the level of electronic distractions when I was a child as we do now there was still a lot to pull our family in different directions. But at the cabin we were one. My sister was my best friend. My parents were fun people who took us on boat rides to get Dairy Queen. My grandma was the one who let us drive the 3-wheeler in the woods. Even my little brother wasn't as annoying at the cabin. We were all together, we only had each other and that was all we needed.
This weekend with my little family we experienced a little of that. There was still time for our own thing, reading, hiking and just watching the river roll by but there was also time to be together having fun, playing cards, canoeing, sitting together around the camp fire. Even when Jake and I were turning the row boat in circles trying to paddle up river and then barely able to beat the current when we finally found our rhythm we had fun.
We had a great time together and even though we have retired to our seperate corners now that we are home I don't feel quite as distanced from them as I did a couple weeks ago. Sometimes it really is good to get away and unplug. And apparently family games really do bring a family together.
Even on the way home from the cabin the fun doesn't end. We had seen more species of bugs than our bug book could keep up with, a deer swimming across the river and a woodchuck run under the deck but the big prize came as we were driving away:
Hi Mr. Bear.
What a great weekend.