I had planned to give this as a gift to Rich for Father’s Day but (spoiler alert) I guess I just couldn’t wait that long, LOL!
I made it for him and in honour of him.
So from now on whatever trails our #summerofrich adventures lead us to Rich will always be well hydrated with his new, “one of a kind”, personalized and insulated water bottle that will keep his drinks really cold and refreshing no matter how lost we may get or how hot it is outside.
Every summer since its conception about five years ago now I like to give a brief synopsis of what #summerofrich is for any newcomers to my page who may be wondering what the heck it is exactly.
It began with a simple exclamation one (very) early Friday morning at the end of June as we stood waving goodbye to our three kids as they drove away on the bus to camp for the next seven and a half glorious weeks (I actually think 2 of them were staff at the time and may have already left for camp, but not important!).
They were barely out of the parking lot yet when Rich turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and shouted “It’s the Summer of Rich”!, and wasted no time at all getting started. Our first activity on the #summerofrich agenda that year (and every year after that until last summer) was already scheduled for later that morning. We were off to the spa for pedicures.
The #summerofrich meant that he now had a seven plus week break; a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break from the burdensome (I use that term, not him) role he plays as both mom and dad, chef, psychologist, schlepper, grocery bagger and much, much more for the other forty something weeks of the year; a role which he has so selflessly taken on for the better part of seven years now.
Last summer when the devastating (yes it was devastating to many) announcement came that overnight camps would not be running due to Covid-19 I thought for a brief moment that we should cancel the #summerofrich all together seeing as Rich would not be getting his well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break. Then I realized that we don’t have to cancel it at all, we just needed to pivot somewhat, after all we no longer had all three kids away for the summer anymore anyways.
And tada, the #summerofrich 2.0 was born. This past year we pivoted a lot due to Covid restrictions. And although our summers may not be as carefree as they once we’re, the #summerofrich has become an incredible outlet for the both of us. If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I’d be enjoying the great outdoors, hiking trails all over our beautiful Province of Ontario and exploring the beauty of nature I’d have said you were crazy.
It’s now become the perfect way to take care of our mental health, have fun and discover places we never imagined before.
What a healthy outlet we have found to do together and I’m so glad that sharing our adventures brings so much joy to others as well. Hashtag #summerofrich has created quite a following!
I’m a planner and I love spending time researching and finding new and adventurous things for us to do. I take my job very seriously (hey, you never know but maybe one day we will even complete the entire length of the Bruce Trail, all 900 KMs of it!).
But most of all when we needed to pivot last summer, the #summerofrich 2.0 took on a whole new life of its own and has made many of our adventures that much more meaningful and memorable too. Our kids have even learned to embrace our passion in small doses, call it “Pandemic boredom” but hey, I’ll take it!
Yes, the #summerofrich may have started out as a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break for Rich during the seven or eight weeks that the kids were away at camp but it’s become so much bigger than that, so much so that as we pivoted this past year we also continued to discover even more adventures with every changing season. Me and winter do NOT get along but if you add the hashtag #summerofrich next to it then count me in! (And it’s a good thing that his new water bottle can also keep his drinks nice and warm as well!!)
Today we welcome in the month of November and the good news is that means there are only 60 more days left until this year from hell will finally be over! But today also marks the beginning of Movember which also means that for the next 30 days men from all around the world will be growing a moustache in honour of their fellow men everywhere.
Movember, which originated in Australia is now a celebrated movement that raises awareness and funds for men’s health issues but more specifically; Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Depression and Suicide.
As we watch men’s moustaches grow we are paving the way towards critical and possibly life saving conversations to occur and reminding men of the importance of early cancer detection, making time for annual check-ups, getting more active and essentially decreasing the amount of preventable deaths.
From a young age some boys are taught (whether it be culturally, generationally or socially) that a “real man” shouldn’t cry, that a “real man” can’t show fear, that being compassionate is somehow a character flaw and that acting anything less than a tough guy is a sign of weakness.
These untruths only feed more and more into the many toxic masculine aggressions and can also lead many men towards feelings of “self-reliance and emotional repression”, both of which can very likely produce an increase in mental health problems such as Depression and Suicide.
A man with such toxic character traits may also make it much less likely that they will seek medical and/or psycholgical help for themselves and could therefore lead to a much shorter life span.
When I came upon this picture the other day (see attached) of the soon to be “President of the United States!!!” and his son Hunter Biden, I saw a picture of courage and strength, I saw a picture of acceptance and understanding, I saw a picture of forgiveness and I saw an unconditional love between a father and his son.
This picture went viral but sadly it did so for all the wrong reasons. Some individuals (to remain nameless) mocked and shamed this portrait as a toxic portrayal of how a “real man” should act and they are sending a very misguided and scary message to the world; especially to the most vulnerable and most impressionable young men among us.
I wish they could see what I see when I look at this picture and I wish that they could see how having the gift of a strong male role model in a young boy’s life could set the bar higher towards a society where men are embraced for their vulnerability instead of their toughness. We could sure use more men like that in the world right now.
Let’s “change the face of men’s health” (Movember’s motto) and squash the stereotypes by supporting and encouraging all men to see this picture through that same lens.
I knew the moment I met you that you were a good catch but what I didn’t know then was what a great catch you would be until you became a dad. Jacob, Hannah, Rachel and Maggie all hit home runs in the daddy department. You cover all the bases, you cleanup really well, you’re our power hitter, our relief pitcher and even if you strike out sometimes when all 3 bases are loaded you are always on deck to catch any foul balls. You are our lead runner who keeps this family grounded and we hit a grand slam knowing that you are always by our side in a pinch. I love you to the moon and back, forever and a day. Happy Father’s Day Rich.
#yankeestadium #family #blessed #flux #dad #daddy #daddio