I remember camping every summer with my family. We would always go to the closest KOA and set up tents for long weekends. We would swim, fish, play card games…you name it. I treasure those memories so much. It’s almost like the world sped up and forgot about those summer weekends.
I still remember riding bikes down those dirt paths with new friends and cousins. We would make up new names for each other and ride past the pool like we owned the place. The KOA is still there, just a much more updated site now.
This past summer we decided to take a week to camp at this same KOA with our girls. It’s close enough to home that we could leave if it was too much to handle, yet far enough away that it felt like a vacation. We borrowed the camper from my in-laws and set up under the trees for the week.
The first day started out slow. There weren’t many families with kids camping there, and the ones that were there were only passing through. Our oldest, Boogie, started to get bored and whine because there was no one to play with. Super Dad to the rescue!
While I got the baby down for a nap, my husband somehow talked Boogie into taking a bike ride with him around the pond. They were gone for quite a while and I started to worry a little. During this bike ride new campers came in and others left. It was closing in on supper time when they finally made it back.
There were no issues, only tired legs and a lost phone that they had to track down. Boogie seemed pleased that she was able to go and do something without me (helicopter mom) watching her every move. Then she spotted them. Three “golden” children only a few sites down.
Her dad got her on the bike again and they rode over to introduce themselves. I walked over with the baby once she woke from her nap. This family was the nicest and friendliest ones we had met during our stay.
The friendship between the children quickly blossomed into dinner guests, playdates, and swimming plans. As a parent of a child who struggles with friendships from time to time, it warmed my heart that this family just accepted Boogie as she is. She was never too much for them. She fit right in and was never a problem.
Their friendship, even though they only spent a few days together, is still growing. The girls are now penpals and Boogie is (not so secretly) planning a trip to see them. I pray they remain friends and do meet again one day.
* I referred to them as the “golden” children because (1) that’s their last name and (2) this family truly has hearts of gold. The mom is an inspiration to everyone she meets, the dad left an impression on my husband with their brave trip across the US, and the kids are just awesome.
Here’s to summer friendships and memories that last!!