From the bean of Green Bean.
It is that time again. School has drawn to a close. An entire three months of adventure looms ahead. Of national and state parks. Of hikes and s'mores. Of ghost stories and junk shops.
Yup. All of those with kids are familiar with their siren's call. No matter how green or frugal we try to go, our kids still want that shell turtle from the Philippines. The T-shirt bearing the destination name. The stuffie made in China. The list goes on.
Often, the owners of these souvenir shops are smarter than we. They hawk their wares at entrances, exits, places where they are difficult to avoid.
Well, my bean ain't green for nuthin'. Over the past few years, we've hit on a new tradition that satisfies my children's craving for the new, my bank account's craving for the inexpensive, and my home and my conscience's craving for less stuff.
A blanket of dreams.
For each place we visit, mom and dad will spring for a patch and, for the most part, that's it. This goes for national parks, state parks, zoos, museums, and new cities. My boys now have something to look for instead of anything that catches their eye. We get in, we get out, and we get on with our exploration.
I sew the patches on their blankets when we get home and the blankets take up no more room than any bedding. No new toys to put away or clothes to wash and outgrow.
Yes, this blanket tradition solves many of the dilemmas but I hope, too, that it will provide my children with one more thing. Memories. I hope that, as teens, they will look over their blanket and remember the time the deer stalked through our camp in the middle of dinner. I hope that, as young adults, they'll remember that summer when they ate too many marshmallows and lay, in a fetal position, in front of the campfire, stomach aching. I hope, that as parents, they'll look at their blanket of dreams and share them all with their own children.
Happy summer. May you step lightly on the earth by stepping lightly through those gift shops.