As I set my status to away before I left for the weekend. There were so many thoughts going through my head. We headed out regardless and I found myself excited for the weekend. I reassured myself countless times that everything was going to be okay.
It was as in nobody died while I was gone or while I was there.
My brother and I always took a trip with my mom and stepdad when we were kids. It was one of the few spots my mom would take us to. We did a lot of outdoor things because it was affordable and I am grateful for what we used to do on a budget.
When we were kids, my brother and I would run the entire river and hike the mountains (actual mountain in picture below, across from where we are standing).
We would steal paddle boats, jump off of the cliffs into the water.
We would play pick up games on the basketball courts, almost getting shot once when a game went wrong.
When it was time to sleep, we slept.
We slept in a kid’s tent through a thunderstorm that had winds so hard they knocked down a log branch and it damaged the van that my mom and stepdad were sleeping in.
I got stuck on the mountain one time and had to wait up there alone as my brother had to go first find my mom who was fishing somewhere and then get her to go up and help me down. She only had to tell me once for me to be able to have enough strength and courage to climb that mountain. I didn’t want to disturb her peace again. The next time we went, we made it to the top and I watched nervously as my brother dangled his feet over the edge of the cliff.
I was around ten years old when I drove my stepdad’s S10 around the park because he was completely wasted and went to find us after we weren’t at the campsite when they got back from fishing. I refused to let him drive and he fought me a little but eventually gave me the keys. Luckily, this wasn’t my first time driving. As we drove I listened to him slur his way through some rant about him and my mom arguing. That was enough information for me to dismiss myself immediately once we got back as I did not want to witness another argument. I tried to go to sleep fast.
The memories we have at that park are plenty good and plenty bad. I know we never got a shelter or a cabin and I would always stare at them as we passed them by. We always got a campsite next to the fishing spot and the mountain. We ate whatever there was, typically sandwiches, hotdogs, hamburgers, we snacked a ton, and we stayed out of my mom’s hair. That last one was rule number one.
That was the place my mom wanted us to throw her ashes. I have visited this park a couple times on a day trip, never overnight as an adult.
Until last year when we honored my mom’s wish.
We’ve made plenty of new memories. My brother with his family and me with mine. Our kids are loving it but I look at that mountain we used to hike and my heart rate increases. There is no way in hell you will catch my kids running fucking wild in that park. My brother and I spent time laughing at shit we used to do, trying to figure out how the fuck we actually survived.
Regardless of the reason we were there, we are now showing our kids completely different things than what we did and saw.
We stay with them for one. We rented a campsite last year and a screen shelter this year. Next year, we’re moving into cabins, which I never knew existed until I was older just FYI. I thought those were for super rich people, but I am grateful to be able to afford a campsite at the very least. It really isn’t that bad of a price because I am cheap myself.
We rent the paddle boats now instead of stealing them, that’s growth.
My kids are watched constantly and we are showing them how to survive as well. I want them to have the fun I did as a kid but my anxiety as an adult is interfering. This year was better and easier as we learned from our mistakes last year. Which means that next year should be even smoother and factoring in that all of the kids will be another year older!
My mom was busy with her own vices when I was little. She didn’t supervise anything but her fishing rod, beer, and cigarettes. However, my brother and I made some memories that some kids may never get.
When we were younger, we ran with the wolves. Free spirits, fitting in and adapting as needed.
Now that I am more aware of my surroundings, I am shocked by how much I didn’t know as a child. How naive I truly was because I was busy in my own world, chasing the next adrenaline rush and trying to fit in and impress my big brother.
Catch me taking pictures and sitting down now as I let my children jump off of the ropes, of course with my brother and my boyfriend close by just in case.