I forgot how it feels to go to bed when the sun is still up. Or maybe it is that I have never had to try to put kids to bed when that very same sun is still right there. Up here in Alaska it has been a daily challenge. You know how it is to drive when the sun is really low and shining in your eyes? Every night when I sit down on my bed, the sun is right there, prying into my eyes. We won’t have even one hour of darkness until the end of August.
On our way north, when we because of circumstances had to drive 3400 miles in less than 2 weeks, we took full advantage of the lengthening days. Only a few hours of the many we drove were actually in the dark. But now that we are mostly settled for the summer, we would love to catch up on some sleep. And I am sure we will, once we get our curtain situation figured out. The kids’ room is dark, but the rest of our house on wheels has white window coverings. Less than ideal.
We are in a beautiful place on the Kenai Peninsula, surrounded by forest, beach, water and rocks. What a backyard for kids to play in for a summer. At this point we have not yet made it to the beach ourselves, but Zoe and Finn have made a couple trips with other campers and their kids. They make mud plates and create bits and pieces for their fairy houses and are constantly black from mud and leftover burned wood. They bike the campground loop every chance they get, although Finn usually drives his motorcycle. You can hear him coming: “Vroom vroom”. Little Metta has taken to the same motorcycle noises on her Strider, it is hilarious (needless to say she is too little to join the older ones on their bike rides).
Every day we make a ‘Happy’, which is Metta’s word for fire. The kids look for kindling and leftover wood from campers that have left. A few days ago Finn and Zoe were gone for quite a while. When they came around the curve, they were carefully biking next to each other. They had tied long straps to a humongous log, and tied the whole thing to both their bikes, towing it around the campground loop. Apparently they had picked up some gloves and straps before heading out, and figured out how to carefully bike together, getting off their bikes on the uphill, and going slowly around curves.
It took some getting used to for me to let them go about their day without too much interference. We have always tried not to be helicopter parents, and now we really get to put our money where our mouths are. I believe this is what childhood should be like. Of course within reasonable boundaries, but what a way to encourage creativity, common sense and courage. That being said, we are never far away. My biggest concern is probably the chance of running into a moose. Our conversations about safety have drastically changed from when we lived in our house in Loveland.
Currently we are working on getting into some sort of rhythm. When groceries, laundromat and library are a 45 minute drive, these things take some planning. We were pleased to find a good library with story times and computers for kids, plus free internet. I thought it was interesting how this week’s theme was canoes for preschool story time, and the main characters in the stories were moose, beavers and bears. Beautiful animals, especially when we spot moose and bears from a safe distance regularly. I guess you wouldn’t consider the moose with her baby in our camp last week a safe distance, but it sure was special.