Rite of Passage – conclusion   Leave a comment

Now we just did not hand over the keys to the van and send the boys on their way. I wanted them to be equipped to handle any situation that might arise. We gathered information they would need; addresses, directions, and phone numbers to the Hostel, campground, State Patrol for each state, and all the places they wanted to sightsee. That was all put into a binder that they would take with them. We also included a notarized letter giving permission for the boys to receive medical treatment if necessary and another letter stating they had our permission to be traveling. Hidden in the van was a credit card in case my oldest had his wallet lost or stolen and we added a baseball bat that would be within reach to use as a weapon if necessary. We felt we included everything they would need and it was time for them to make this adventure their own.

Their trip was a success. They enjoyed talking with new people at the hostel and meeting the challenge of navigating themselves in Minneapolis and using the tram system in a city unfamiliar to them.  They toured Deadwood, saw Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, visited Mount Rushmore and spent a day at Custer State Park photographing buffalo and hiking. At the various sites, they met many people that thought their trip together was amazing. One particular instance was while they were waiting for an evening presentation at Mount Rushmore and were chatting with the man seated next to them. When he learned they were camping together, he could not wait until his wife sat down to tell her about a sixteen year old young man who brought his brother out to see South Dakota from Wisconsin. The boys returned home with a deeper sense of confidence in their abilities.  In fact, my twelve year never wanted to go to summer camp again after that trip.  After traveling and maintaining a campsite on their own, going to camp and having an adult monitor every activity just wasn’t appealing anymore.

 They looked forward to the following summer with the possibility of another trip. Unfortunately that was not going to happen. Every campground that we called in the area  in which they were interested, said no. We realized how lucky we were that the campground in Deadwood had accepted them and that they were truly blessed to be able to have had that experience.  They would have to wait 2 years, when they were 18 and 14 before the next trip.  They took that this past summer, driving out East.  They camped in Gettysburg and visited Philadelphia and Washington D.C..
The vision I had for a rite of passage for my boys to experience had been accomplished.  They, alone, were responsible for to look out for each other, make good decisions and use sound judgement.  They made it home safely … and I didn’t have my face plastered on tabloid newspapers as the worst mom in history or end up in jail.

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Posted January 5, 2011 by The Nonconformist Mom in Uncategorized

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