Saturday, October 15, 2016


   Lincoln really become a lot of fun over the summer. Talking to himself, laughing and playing, having lots of personality; he really started to grow up. But the main thing that has come out of this summer is his love of slides. The slide at the pool, at the park, in our living room, all of them.

   At the two pools we frequent - Camp Harlow and Amazon - he would go down the big slides for an hour straight. He got to the point his little legs couldn't get up the steps (each one is about 2/3rds the length of his leg), so he'd walk halfway up and need me to carry him the rest of the way, then giggle the whole way down. It was glorious.

   But the slide that was king of them all was the big long one at Camp Harlow. It's roughly 6 million feet high and 42 feet long and holy cow did he love it.

Aaaand this might be my favorite picture ever. Because I am so fond of that watch.
   Here it is in moving picture form. You'll notice at the end that he walks straight to the far complex to go down the big slide again. The whole loop takes him about two minutes.

   The first time he did this I was absolutely terrified. Remember, he's not even two years old. He sort of snuck away from me and I realized I had a better chance of catching him at the bottom than racing him to the top. The second time I was still a little nervous. Then it became the greatest thing in my life. There's probably some lesson in all of that, but I think it's "slides are really fun."

   One time towards the end of our slide marathon, Link got a little too excited. He started to lean forward to grab me pretty early, and fell forwards. He was about to take a big bite of hard round metal, but luckily some selfless hero was there to save the day. I quickly threw my hand in the way, figuring him biting me was better than him losing all of his teeth,. While this essentially worked, it basically turned in to me punching his face instead of his face punching the slide. He still got a fat lip and my hand was all cut up. I do not regret allowing him to go down a slide that was thirty four times his height.

   My sister and sister-in-law have been running a camp for kids whose parents are incarcerated. It's called Camp Agape. It's an overnighter that takes place at Camp Harlow, free for the children, and devoted to making them feel loved, encouraged, equipping them with supplies for the school year, and telling them about Jesus. It's a simply wonderful thing. My brother volunteers as a counselor, my wife volunteers in the kitchen, my parents probably do something too, and I hope to get some credit for being related to these wonderful people. While they are all working, I take my boys to camp so they can play.

   Also, things like this happen:

Wyatt learned this from watching mom. This is exactly how she kisses.

   So really, Camp Harlow is just like Pawnee.

   My summers growing up were lived out at Camp Harlow, which on summer weeks is a camp run by First Baptist Church in Eugene for K - 8, primarily. Counseling, swimming, playing, working. It was my second home. One of the saddest things for me about being a parent has been knowing that my kids won't have camp in the same way that I did. Where can I find a space that they can run, play, love, and care for, besides their own room? I still haven't answered that question (although Marist is kind of becoming that place lately), but I absolutely treasure the three days each year that my boys get to play at camp, while I get to remember it.

   So now camp is the place where I learned how to work, and where Lincoln learned how to slide, and Wyatt learns how to swim. Somehow those boys are able to walk around and everyone knows who they are. It's an extremely gratifying feeling to let them run and watch them grow up out there.

Here's to next summer, when they'll be bigger and doing different things and never 1 and 4 again.

My mood: melancholy
Link's mood: runny nose forever
Wyatt's mood: excited about Halloween
Cara's mood: tired of working
Listening to: Nothing. (That's not a band. At least I don't think it is. Is it? I don't know. Look it up. They're great.)

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