Looking back, I think this past summer offered a really good mix of adventures, both at home and away. We were away a bit more than I would choose on my own, but as a family I think we reached the right balance. The boys are getting older and we are branching a little farther out. It feels right and good.
Here are some of the things we’ve done: one week at the cottage in July and in August (just our family); a few weekend at the cottage (with extended family, very different experience); five days at overnight camp; four weeks of swimming lessons; soccer lessons; city outings (Canada’s Wonderland, CNE, ROM); birthdays, pool parties, playdates, and more.
When I asked Sam what his favourite part of the summer, I was genuinely curious what he’d choose. ”When we were playing the yellow team and the blue team,” he said. We thus had a winner: soccer.
Both boys played (in different leagues). Sam loved his games, riding on his bike with our neighbours along the boardwalk to the beach to play. (I did this once with the three boys, and it is such a civilized way to spend an evening.) He took to it naturally, had a friend there, and was a good player. Running, scoring, being goalie – all of it was just right with Sam and the highlight of his week.
Nat played in an older age group – one year up. This wasn’t our first choice. Sometimes I feel like with an older sibling, Natty is always playing up and it would be nice if he could have a better sense of his true abilities playing alongside kids his own age. But it didn’t work out that way.
To work with this, Ben suggested that Nat play really good defense, and highlighted how important that is for the team. Natty did this, and he did help him team. What we didn’t expect was that sometimes our little guy managed to get out in front. And sometimes he scored.
Some of the parents were surprised to learn he was as young as he was. ”He’s holding his own out there.” And he really was.
The boys got their trophies. I’m afraid Nat’s was more glamourous than Sam’s, who wondered aloud why he didn’t a similar one. As for Nat, he grinned widely when given his prize. ”Finally,” he declared, “I get a golden trophy.”
(The last picture of Sam and all the ones of Nat were taken after they scored goals.)