Like every family, we look towards the end of summer with a fond sense of, “Waaaaait! We have stuff we wanted to dooooooo!” One of which was suckle off the teat of all our friends with lakeside cabins.
One such cabin belonging to friends at the end of the block featured, among other things, a pontoon boat, a speed boat, kayaks, and hundreds of beers that magically appeared in coolers everywhere.
Eli proclaimed it the best vacation of his life. I reminded him that we just paid for he and Luca to visit castles in France. He looked at me with an expression that said, “Did I stutter?”
I had to agree it was pretty great.
At the far end of the lake sat a gigantic Christian summer camp. Families gather throughout the summer to connect with each other and God. I was not about to make fun of them using my Ned Flanders voice because the camp also lets heathens play on their incredible collection of floating structures, seemingly designed by God himself. There were inflatable towers, inflatable rafts, inflatable trampolines, and other odds and ends. It was amazing.
But the centerpiece was this massive floating bladder. Next to the bladder was this huge wooden ladder tower. The purpose of which was to leap from the top and onto the bladder. And then the next Christian leaps onto the bladder, shooting you high into the sky and I think into God’s arms.
Eli and Luca were overcome with that combination of really wanting to jump on the thing and utter terror. I appealed to their manhood. “Come on you big babies. Jump on it. Sheesh. What a bunch of babies. Babies.”
Luca and Eli, who are definitely NOT babies, eventually climbed the ladder and leapt onto the bladder. I shouted my congratulations and proclaimed them not babies.
“Dad, now you jump on!”
Come again? Oh no. That was a kid activity. Dads just stand nearby peeing in the lake. Dads don’t climb wet, slimy wooden ladders.
After a cavalcade of “Please????” I found myself standing on top of the wooden God structure. Luca was waiting on the God bladder below (Eli had bailed, tired of my wishywashing). I suddenly remembered I was deathly afraid of heights.
But I sensed this was a defining moment in my dadness. I needed to prove that I was no baby too. We Hamanss may be slightly nervous neurotics who hate change and aren’t great at sports, but we are not babies.
So I reminded God that technically I am a Christian and I do go to church sometimes and I leapt. I landed awkwardly on the bladder and I twisted my ankle, but I sent Luca soaring into the sky and into the lake with the splash.
The expression of pure joy on his face reminded me that maybe the Christians might be on to something.