Harassing My Children
So here we are, coming up to the end of summer. Our four have been plugging away at homeschool, and are finally finishing up. They’ve enjoyed wonderful trips and excursions during different seasons, while others toil away at school. And now, while regular teens scurry to find seasonal work, or complain about having nothing to do during the dog-days of summer, our kids can stay in airconditioned splendor and keep those gray cells razor sharp.
Or something like that.
“I’ve been considering an end-of-summer adventure…” I begin, going into my E.F. Hutton routine where all ears are upon me.
“Yes?” they brighten.
“But so many of you don’t enjoy new experiences, that I’m starting to reconsider….”
“We like new things-!” they insist.
“Well, that might be…” admits our eldest daughter, the neophobe par excellence.
“Or attending clown school and swinging on the trapeze at a high height…?”
“I would love to be a clown!” enthuses our second son.
“How did I know that?” I narrow my eyes.
“Or climbing a sheer rock wall in a canyon…?”
“…with rattlesnakes hiding inbetween every rock….”
“I thought you guys should know the potential dangers before you sign-on for this adventure. The possibilities of cold showers, outhouses, dressing in active-wear. It might be a bit much for you….” my voice trails off.
My eldest son sits there and chuckles, since I clear all excursions with him first. He and I are the voices of sanity in our family and if we like an idea, then that’s what we’re doing, no matter what the others think.
In actuality, they’re all going to Russian camp, held at a high-mountain retreat center with homecooked Eastern European meals and non-stop fun, sports, discussion groups, water balloon fights, Bible studies, scavenger hunts, hide-and-seek on steroids, canoeing, swimming, and singing around the campfire. All in Russian.
They’ll love it. But first, I have to throw them off the trail, because a couple have already been guessing that it’s this or that, sometimes insisting (with a snarky attitude) that they know exactly what we may be doing.
Oh? We’ll see about that.
“Okay, everybody bring your individual suitcases to the dacha,” I instruct and they shoot confused looks at each other.
Usually, the girls share a small suitcase and the boys share a small suitcase to take clothes back and forth between our houses. Now it appears to them that we’ll be leaving from the south—where could we be headed?
We do this for a couple of weeks, while I warn that they must be ready to depart at any minute. You know, when adventure calls, you need to answer. Also, it might be wise to have a second helping at dinner—foraging for food could mean that lean times are ahead….
They’re on pins and needles. They try to get the location out of Benedetto, who tells them that he has a lot of work to do and they may need to go ahead with Mama and set out on the excursion early, while he might join us later.
It is only when we head out, long before dawn, and they see us driving on our familiar path toward our first home, that they become even more confused. I inform them that our trip is so long as to necessitate an overnight along the way. When the second day dawns and I finally need to pull out their sleeping bags and towels and prepare for an afternoon drop-off an hour or two away, I decide to tell them.
“Yay!” they all shout, without too much time to obsess about who’s bunking with whom, and what new friends they might make.
We spend a leisurely few hours together before I take them to the big bus for drop-off. As some of the oldest campers, they do not obsess, and I actually feel like most of what they bring along with them may actually return with them.
A text comes from our oldest who promised to communicate before they hit the high mountains and all phone service cuts out.
“In the country. All is well. Making new friends.”
————–Tags: adventure camp, language camp, meeting other Ukrainian Belarus Russian teens, Russian language camp, Russian summer camp, Russian-American teens