It's been nearly a week since my son returned from his Coming of Age wilderness adventure. He had an amazing trip.
On the first night he thought he might freeze completely solid, it had rained and they were very wet, sleeping bags and tent were damp and he hadn't figured out yet how to wear his clothes to manage the cold.
But he figured it out, and they got dry the next day. He was never as cold as the first night. He did fall in quicksand up to his neck. Yes, really. With a canoe on his shoulders. A big heavy wooden canoe. Yes, really. But he's watched enough "Survivor Man" to know what to do. Yes, really!
They had enough food, and the biggest animal trouble they had was from the chipmunks and the mosqitoes.
And he tells me that having a mom who had done a long trip was cool. Maybe he's streching the truth. But I love him for that. He found my "long trip paddle" on the wall of honor. I didn't even realize until he got back that it was the 25th anniversary of that trip. I hardly even care anymore that they spelled my name wrong. Yes, we really did paddle to York Factory on Hudson Bay. They don't even let trips go there anymore, the polar bears are too agressive hunting the humans. Yes, really.
The seven boys and the guide had a good trip. It is beautiful in the Boundary Waters Caone Area Wilderness.
They lived simply, waking with the sun, sleeping with the dark. Eating when they were hungry and pushing themselves harder than they could ever dream they could handle. But they did.
Peter says he had a lot of time to think, and that the things that the men in his life, well the men and me, wrote in their letters sat with him while he thought. He had some pretty huge revelations on the trip. They're his to hold, so I won't share, but he shared them with me, his ancient mother. Yes, really
Now that we're back in Seattle and back to the regular life of friends, family, soccer tournaments and daily cycles it's all settling in. He's different, there is no doubt. He's calm, restrained, and his shoulders have grown about four inches wider. It feels like having a young man in the house. And for a child who never, since infancy, had enjoyed motherly affection, he's very tolerant. I walk past him with a plate of pancakes for breakfast becasue he still has this enormous appetite, I can't help but stop and wrap my arm around his shoulders, squeeze a little and say "It's so good to have you home."
"You seem really happy." and he's not even trying to slink away from me.
"I am happy, I really missed you." I brush his hair out of his eyes, and off he goes, headed into his day, into his young man world, into his life. Yes, really.