Same Family. New Season.

We are in a different place this summer.

That probably sounds strange coming from someone who lives on wheels.

I don’t mean geographically. I mean relationally.

Motivated by Kids Aging

It was our oldest turning 13 that motivated us to start traveling. All the sayings proved true. Time was short. They grow up so fast.

We decided to take action, to do something special and adventurous before that ‘just a toddler yesterday’ kid turned into ‘just shaved man’ with a backpack slung over a shoulder heading out the door on his new solo adventure.

Don’t Blink

We blinked.

Oh, we traveled. We adventured. 39 states. Almost 5 years.

But we blinked.

While our eyes were closed that kid learned to shave. He bought the backpack and stuffed a newly-purchased laptop into it.

He isn’t gone yet but he’s eyeing the door.

First Becomes Last

Our thinking is starting to be a little less focused on ‘first times’ and more on ‘last times’.

Will we have another day at Ludington as a whole family? Or will this be our last time before the boy man is off on his own?

Once again, we find ourselves motivated to action by the aging of our children. We know. We can’t stop time. They will age. They will become adults. They will become independent.

That doesn’t stop us from wanting to squeeze every last little bit out of the time we still have.

Seizing the Day

We consulted work and internship schedules. Looked at the weather forecast. Missed a chance and tried again.

We found a day. Determined to make the most of it we loaded bikes and a kayak. We packed a couple meals. We took changes of clothes. Loaded fishing gear and folding chairs.

With a Lake Michigan sunset projected to happen in the late 8:00 PM hour we arrived at Ludington State Park just after lunch.

We hiked. Biked. Kayaked. Fished. Swam. Read. Talked. Schlepped. Repacked. Enjoyed the sunset and hit the road home. Delayed by ice cream we fell into bed around midnight.

We carpe’d the crap out of that diem.


Recreating a photo I took when they were 4 and 5, but now can't find.

Recreating a photo I took when they were 4 and 5, but now can't find.

We heart Ludington

We heart Ludington

Uprooted family having uprooted fun

Uprooted family having uprooted fun

Fishing the AuSable.

Fishing the AuSable.

MsBoyink gets her workout

MsBoyink gets her workout

Our first time with the kayak on the big lake.

Our first time with the kayak on the big lake.

Front-row seat for the sunset.

Front-row seat for the sunset.

Playing where water meets water.

Playing where water meets water.

Teens talk.

Teens talk.

I got your beachbody workout right here.

I got your beachbody workout right here.

The nomadic Boyink family.

The nomadic Boyink family.

The Changing Season

That was already a week ago. The dog days of summer have peaked and the temperatures are trending down.

I know this feeling. I know this time of year. Feet still standing in the warm lake water of summer but the breeze carrying the slightest cool tickle of fall.

Not yet.


Just another week of summer. Another swim. Another bike ride. Another sunset. Another drippy ice cream cone.

Another season together. As a family.

Tough Transition

That season is ending.

Or it’s already over, and we’re just going through the motions pretending it’s not.

Truthfully? It’s already not the same. The conversations are different. The kids begin to color in their adult worlds with jobs, apartments, college and significant others.

We have our own parents-only landscapes to start to revise and recolor.

In Michigan the brilliance of fall is followed up with barren monotones of winter.  As a family we also expect some tough days of transition. We need to renegotiate relationships. We need to redefine ourselves to each other.

What does it mean to be the parent of a now-adult child, and the now-adult child still having parents? How do we communicate with each other in these new roles?

How do we now love each other?

A Rebirth

Spring always comes. The Michigan joke is that sometimes it’s in June.

We’re hoping for an earlier Spring than that.


A good growing season next year.

10 Comments Same Family. New Season.

  1. Picture of Jenni Jenni August 01, 2015

    MsBoyink looks like a teenager herself in that tree stump shot.  And you need to sell t-shirts with “We carpe’d the crap out of that diem.”  I’d buy one.

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink August 01, 2015

    T-shirts are on the list…will make a note about tha one..;)

  3. Picture of Heather Gebbia Heather Gebbia August 02, 2015

    This brought tears to my eyes. I am really not looking forward to my kids growing up. The time really is going too quickly. That’s exactly why we’re traveling. To make the most of the time we have left while their still young.

  4. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink August 02, 2015

    I won’t claim to have kept dry eyes while writing it..and it was supposed to be just simple recount of the day.

  5. Picture of B.J. Porter B.J. Porter August 05, 2015

    Nice thoughts - we’re there too with our eighteen year old after three years out sailing together.

    You are flush with pride watching them grow up, while you hold back the tears about how much you will miss them.  Its what we were aiming for when we had kids - bring up a new person that will grow up to love others, cherish life and be on their own…and we desperately don’t want the process to end!

    Sounds like you have a few more weeks so you are ahead of us, enjoy yourselves, spoil the kids rotten and give him a big sendoff - unfortunately our time to do that got cut off.

    And like us…don’t forget you still have another one for a few more years!

  6. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink August 05, 2015

    Hey B.J. - thanks for coming by and commenting. It’s funny how you can see a phase of life coming from 18 years away and it still affects you differently than you expect.

    We vascilllate daily between wanting him to stay or go, but ultimately it’s time for him to learn what we can’t teach him.

    Our 2nd is now 17…so could be a few more years…or not. Tough to say with her!

  7. Picture of susan susan August 06, 2015

    Just back from Ludington as well! LOVED it!! I assume your ice cream was House of Flavors? We are on the other end of the kid spectrum and camping with our 3 year old.  He got his first (of many we hope) patches for his backpack. :) Safe travels on the road and through your transitions.

  8. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink August 06, 2015

    This particular trip we wimped out & did $1 McDonalds sundaes…but we have done House of Flavors in the past.

    One of the ‘girls next door’ down growing up (down in Holland) married into that family and runs the place now.

    Glad you enjoyed Ludington!

  9. Picture of Reuben Reuben September 23, 2015

    ...I started this comment multiple times. I’m not really sure what to say, but I gotta say somethin’. You’ve put so much out there, I feel I need to at least leave a quick comment of appreciation.

    I feel like I’m seeing the words and thoughts between the written ones; ..maybe because we’re experiencing similar and I’m empathetic, not sure. I think I have a good idea of what it took to share these thoughts, and be so open about such big life transitions and for that I’m appreciative. I’m really happy for you and your family my man. I wish you all the best.

  10. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink September 23, 2015

    Thanks Reuben!  Praying for you guys working through this season of life as well.

Comments are no longer accepted on this article.