Once upon a time, I was listening to a good friend give talk about family legacy and what she planned to do with her future grandchildren. Camp Grandma. Brenda’s vision included crafts, special stories, activities and teaching her grandchildren about their extended family. A cool idea for a different kind of family adventure with younger children but my kids are teenagers now and wouldn’t be too thrilled with that idea.
Normally by now I would have our summer vacation plans pretty much set. A few final details and confirmations but nothing major. Well, 2016 has not been normal from day one…actually day -2.
My mom was diagnosed with a very aggressive Lymphoma on Dec. 30th. Mom began treatment shortly after that. Six cycles of in-hospital chemo followed by a bone marrow/stem cell transplant this summer. The transplant means a 30-day hospital stay and then in home isolation. Family trumps vacation. Every time. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t make it an adventure. It will just be a little different. This year we are doing our version of “Camp Grandma”.
My parents live on a farm in Niagara County, New York and there is always lots of work in the summer. My mom can’t do any of it so time for my kids to learn horsemanship, gardening, canning & freezing, meal preparation, haying, and navigating Buffalo roads (for my daughter who has her driving permit). There will certainly be fun times thrown in there. Day trips and a week at the cabin in Canada but our main focus will be helping the family…and learning some intangible lessons.
The kids are actually looking forward to it. Ryan is planning to work out a riding schedule so that Grandma’s horses all get exercise. He even asked his sister to help. (They might learn cooperation!) Clare will be taking a few on-line college classes while also helping with gardening and kitchen chores. (time-management and basic culinary skills) She will also be trained for post-transplant caregiving. (Helpful for a future nursing student!) Sean will be working with Grandpa in the garden and the kitchen with me. (Learning to do physical work is SO important) Hopefully the lessons will include compassion, teamwork, a sense of accomplishment and turning love and service into action words.
I am looking forward to this time of watching my kids grow into adults. Life is always an adventure with my family!