A true life story told in a very different way… Some things have more than one meaning. That’s because there were so many different things and reasons… That’s what inside stories are for….
It seems like a lifetime ago. No, not my life time but the lifetime almost of my youngest of 3 bear cubs. He was little. Home life was becoming more and more unstable with the daddy grizzly. The mama bear took her 3 cubs up north to our cabin in the north woods. We were at peace. We were relaxed and felt safe and sound. We had weathered yet another storm in our lives. We decided as the sun was setting to go build a little fire on the beach. We sat. We talked. I held littlest bear and we cried. We slowly began to peel away the outer layers of emotions and got to the core of our deepest fears and troubles. We talked about how to maintain that safe feeling we finally felt. We talked about how to keep littlest grizzly safe. How to show him how love really is. We talked about how life will be someday. We shared our dreams and laughed and giggled. Oldest bear cub on one side of me, middle bear cub on the other and baby cub in arms. Middle bear cub played in the sand with rocks and a stick beside the light of the fire. Oldest was concerned about something lingering in the woods. I was wishing for Northern Lights and howling wolves to make the night perfect. The stars were brilliant and the moon yet to rise. But in the distance we heard the loons sing their lonely songs.
Suddenly, out of nowhere a loon was right there on the other side of the fire in the lake. It just watched us. It was trying to figure us out. Maybe the fire confused it? Maybe it was fishing by the light? But to hear it up close was absolutely amazing. Just a few feet away. Beautiful. And then off again to fish for more food.
Not long after that we were hearing a plop, plop, plop, plop…
The older two bear cubs curiously wondered what it could be. Everything else was forgotten as they were determined to find the source. They walked around until they found it. A little frog coming closer. He was partly on the beach and partly in water as he hopped. Was he trying to get warmer by the fire? Or to avoid getting eaten by the loon? Maybe it too was looking for the zillion Mosquitos that have been named the MN state bird as a joke. Could it really be? Could it replace the lofty loon? NEVER! Whatever the little critters were doing there on that night really doesn’t matter… They contributed to an experience that was so amazing, peaceful, so tranquil, so relaxing and wonderful that we decided that anytime we were feeling sad, worried, scared, terrified, anxious, angry at the biggest baddest bear, or many other emotions that we would say to the other “Remember the campfire?” Now the three bear cubs were small. They were very young in many ways but already felt and seen enough bad in anyone’s lifetime that these moments still stuck with them. The fire, the flicker in the flames and the light dancing on the water, the stars and later northern lights, the loon and frog, (I howled like a wolf to hopefully get a return call) the smell of the pines, the spring fed lake, the wilderness air and yes the buzz of the Mosquitos, all made it so memorable. It washed away the bad like washing a deep bloody wound. It was such sharp contrast to what we had been feeling that we wanted more of that. We fell in love with peace.
Our little secure bonding experience drew us so close. I will never forget the first time facing something bad after that. The oldest bear cub sweetly said “Guys! Guys! Remember the campfire?” It worked. It took us back there to that night. It helped us feel calm in the face of a huge storm. When the middle bear cub cried out with night terrors? “Shhhhhh! Little one. Remember the campfire?” When the littlest bear cub went to the hospital and we were scared and worried sick over him? One of us would say “Remember the campfire?”
Why am I bringing all of this up? Because family connection is the best thing for your kids. You have to have a bond and a connection and it all starts with communication. But then that communication has to be maintained. We have had so many major troubled waters, winds, storms all literal and figurative with difficult life changing things and we always circle around and say “Remember the campfire?”
It’s a bond we will always share. It’s a bond that we will probably never be able to explain completely to others. It’s a bond that runs deeper than most families share. It’s a bond that is so strong that when life throws us a smashing blow to one of our members we rally everyone together with that one little phrase and it makes a light flicker in the eyes of the troubled one and brings us to another stronger hope for our future. I’ve said “My kids are my life!” In so many ways it’s because we have saved each other. We know the littlest bear cub loved it too. To this day he will cuddle and giggle in my lap next to a warm fire and fall deeply asleep.
If you are looking for something in your life. Create a bonding moment with your loved ones and make a quote to go along with it… It will become your signature inside story moment that will keep you connected in those turbulent waters.
We have hit the teenage years now. Baby talk is out. But we will never grow tired of telling the others “Remember the campfire?”
What is your inside story? Your signature family quote? Please share… 🙂