I just got off the phone with my 15-year-old son. He's already in Minnesota and tomorrow he heads for an early bus that will take him to the northern border wilderness of Minnesota. He called to say goodnight and good-bye.
I keep calling it "work camp" but my kids tell me that's not really the right name for it! He's going to work for a week and a half to pay for part of his way for his camp trip, but it's not really about that. He wants to go hang out at camp, play cards, bake bread in the kitchen, and be a teenager in the wild woods of the Canadian border.
Of course he does.
After his time working he'll go back to Minneapolis to his grandma and grandpa's house for two days and then he'll go back up for a three week canoe trip in the Boundary Waters and into the Quetico provincial park.
Man, sometimes I wish we didn't have technology. It was so hard to hear his voice tonight saying good bye. He's a great kid, and I already miss him being around the house. It'll be August before I get to see him again. Who thought this was a good idea, anyway?
But of course it is a good idea. It's a great idea. Everyone should get to have adventures when they're growing up. Everyone should know that they are loved and treasured and everyone should be trusted to go off and make their own way.
The summer I was 15 I went on the same kind of trip, 21 days, canoeing in the Boundary Waters and into Quetico. He'll be fine. He'll have a great trip. He'll be hungry and cold and tired and wonderful. He'll grow up, he'll grow up a lot.
And we'll let go a little more.
At camp when the groups are having their last dinner before they go out on trail, the people who are staying behind in camp form a big kick line and send them off by singing "Happy Trails". Or at least they did when I was there. I'd bet they still do.
Happy Trails! Amen.