Friday, September 2, 2011

Go Jump in a Lake!

I guess if one's child is going to be driven by an unspoken imperative to "Go jump in a lake!" it's good to have a beautiful lake to jump into.

The JoyFamily returned on Monday from another long-weekend jaunt to the family cabins in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I'm pleased to report that our trip home was nicely uneventful, in contrast to our Memorial Day mudbath. The vacation itself was free of marauding ruffed grouse, and nary an exploding shower pipe was to be found.

The big novelty of the trip was the company of AuntieS, who hadn't been up to the lake in 3 decades. It was such a treat to have her there, I didn't even mind "letting" her win a round of dice the last night we were there... Besides, she took pictures! (Photos below are courtesy of AuntieS).

For Joy, the top-priority draw this visit was the lake itself. We hadn't been in the cabin five minutes, just beginning to unload and unpack, when we suddenly heard the lake-side screen door slam and Joy was hurtling down the steep embankment toward the pier. How she kept on her feet the whole way down, I'll never know -- I'm not even sure how I managed to stay upright in pursuit. I caught up with her at the last second, just as she paused at the far end of the pier before launching herself into the drink.

In past years, we've been able to sit on the pier and play little games, or swing on the rickety metal swingset between the cabins, or hang out happily for hours on the screen-porch overlooking the lake. Not this time around. Some switch on Joy's mixer-board had assumed a new setting -- the "Go jump in a lake" setting. Being in sight of the lake without actually jumping in? Not to be considered.

Fortunately, the weather cooperated for lake-splashings every afternoon we were there. Summer is waning up north, but by afternoon the sun had always warmed up the air and the lake enough for a swim.

The first afternoon, we splashed both off the pier and with the rest of the family off the side of the pontoon boat.

The next day we learned to float tummy-down on a little inflatable life-ring toy.

The third day, Joy discovered the delight of driving her hands down into the muddy sand of the lakebed. That was so much fun, she was even willing to dunk her head under when we went into slightly deeper water, for the joy of that sloppy lakebed.

We had other fine moments as well: unusual success at going for walks down the woodland roads, and playing with ferns WITHOUT consuming them, and an unusually calm ride home.

Gorgeous weather aside, this was not really an ideal weekend to upset the Joy-routine with a trip to the lake. We've had fruit-basket-upset with our therapy staffing and schedule and location through the course of August, with changes still happening. Then our summer childcare arrangement came to an end mid-August, leaving us patching together the last two weeks. And then the crowning routine-buster -- the start of first grade, with shortened days both Thursday and Friday, and a new teacher and case manager.

Since I didn't get this written before Day 1 of school actually happened, I'll let you in on the first day's outcome -- Joy's two main special education assistants are with her again this year. The first day of first grade was not at all like the traumatic first day of kindergarten. Not without some stress of course, but overall a big relief to everyone involved. Onward to Day 2!


Suze said...

Here's hoping Joy and Rose both have a great year! (And you and JoyDaddy, too, of course!)

Bethany said...

Sounds like everyone had a great time at the cabin. No catastrophes and a new little fish with a love of the lake!! I am so thankful that Joy's first day of school was a huge improvement over last year's and went well, and I am sure Rose had a great start too. Prayers for Joy to adjust to all the new changes well and to slip seemlessly into her school routine!!

AuntieS said...

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my many-years-delayed visit to the lake. I loved discovering both what had not changed in 30 years and what was new, different, or improved. One new experience, of course, was sharing the weekend with sister-in-laws (none of my brothers were married way back in those days!! LOL!) and my nieces! Rose provided much lively and interesting chatter and information about the animals and plants all around us. She also joined in with her dad and uncles to poke some fun at my nervousness about jumping from the boat to the lake! LOL! I totally enjoyed watching Joy en-JOY her time in the water. At one point, I saw her JOY-ously scooping up handfuls of water and throwing them up in the air to rain back down on her. She brought smiles to all of us just to see her be so free and one with the splashing water. I was touched with some nostalgia as I watched my nieces doing things and experiencing things that I vividly remember doing as a child up at the lake every summer.
All in all, I am glad I finally got back to our family cabins, and I am very glad that I had family (2 brothers and sis-in-laws, 2 nieces, my dad, and my aunt) to share it all with.
As for the dice game, I think I won by pure skill and cunning (or maybe it was by pure beginner's luck???)!!

jess said...

the trip sounds (and looks!) absolutely wonderful. and so glad to hear that there's some consistency for the little one starting school. hooray!!

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a geat end-of-summer trip to the cabins this year, and an uneventful trek home! (you know my husband is from MI, and i've always wanted to go to the UP - still haven't made it yet).

so glad the first day back to school was an overall relief. here's to a great year!

Rethink Kent said...

Loved reading your account of your trip up to the lake! Also glad we got to hear AuntiS' side of the dice story ;)

All the best to Joy and family and I hope her and Rose's years go well! Sounds like you're off to a bit of a rocky start, but that just means there is plenty of room for improvement!

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Anonymous said...

What a JOY-ous post! Gives me a happy feeling to read about her lake escapades! Thanks, AuntieS for the photos!

My but your August gives real meaning to the pains of 'transition' but not without some gain in that not-bad 1st day of 1st grade!