For each of the past several years, with one exception, the girls and I (and once Mr. B) trekked to a certain campground in the Sierra to float the river, soak in the natural hot springs, make s'mores and otherwise enjoy the great outdoors with my little brother and his family. We always have SUCH a great time, in no small part because, well, their family rocks.
The first year we gathered here was rough. Their youngest was only a year old, if that, and camping was entirely foreign to most of their little kids. Couple that with a long drive, late arrival, hungry kids and tired parents and you can bet it was a pretty nerve-wracking first day or so. My girls were only slightly older, and with only one adult to meet their young
Fast forward a half a dozen years and we've gotten into a groove. All of us look forward to this trip. When the adults involved utter summer plans that may not include this trip (something both families considered this year for various reasons), all the kids freak. And our constitutions aren't that strong. Where cooler heads might opt to skip a year, stay home, take a break, our hearts pull us back together at this place. It's a tradition. We have to go. And not just for tradition's sake. We enjoy it there. We enjoy the company.
So through the years, we've braved plagues of mosquitoes and yellowjackets, weathered a storm that flooded the big tent, watched the kids grow and enjoyed each other's company. We've gotten to know each other better, had opportunities to play with each other, enjoyed time together.
I can hardly wait for next year's reunion at this special place with this rockin' family.