Sunday, July 29, 2012

Camping is for Young People

It is no exaggeration to say that my husband has wanted to take our children camping for years. A couple of weeks ago P started sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag (despite having two twin beds in his room to choose from) because he was "practicing for camping." With that enthusiasm, we decided to go for it yesterday.
It was a bit warm (low 90s), but a nice breeze started blowing just in time for us to try to build the fire. We opted for a traditional campfire dinner that became even more authentic when we discovered our skewers weren't long enough and wound up using a stick to roast our hotdogs--much to the delight of my children.
Despite the legions of ants & yellow jackets they attracted, the s'mores were a hit.

We explored a nearby cave (which involved kids peeking their heads in and declaring that a snake definitely lived there and we should probably avoid going in.)

After all the activity, the children decided to relax for a bit before bed.
It was somewhere between the hammocks and nightfall when things went from picturesque to 'real world.' There was an epic tantrum from one child which occurred simultaneously with giggly, out of control second winds for two others. It was a perfect storm of heat, exhaustion, fear & newfound freedom.

As darkness set in, I confess that even Mommy got a bit freaked out by the vulnerability of being out in the open. As K whispered nervously that she heard a man's voice in the distance, I comforted her while silently wondering if there was also banjo music. At least three times it was ME that woke my husband to investigate a noise. It rained, accompanied by thunder and lightening. And I slept on no less than 6 pointy rocks. It was the worst night's sleep I can ever recall. The only silver lining I could find in my middle of the night delirium was that discomfort and fear are truly greater impetuses to prayer than peace and ease.

We were all wide awake as the sun rose this morning. It was a gorgeous sunrise that we would have slept through had we been tucked in comfortably at home. I confess, it felt like I had earned it!

By 6:45 camp had been completely packed up and we were on the road. I don't typically consider myself 'high maintenance,' but my tired old back had never been so happy that there were seat warmers in my car--if only I had also packed some Aleve. I am pretty sure I am too old for this.

Our camping excursion was a small reminder that all life experiences aren't smooth sailing. The teacher/life lesson lover in me was strangely grateful that God chose to use camping rather than something more severe to provide that prompt.

Suffice it to say, the experience is one that I am happy to 'check off the list' with little desire to repeat. Too bad my children feel differently. They had a blast!


Sarah said...

I rarely comment on your blog, but I love following along! You have such a gift for writing and sharing. My hubby & I both love camping and are eagerly awaiting the time when our little one(s) are old enough to join in the fun! I love camping in the traditional sense, but I do have one high-maintenance demand that I must have--an air mattress under my sleeping bag! It makes the WORLD of difference in your camping experience!

Liz said...

My husband and son are super active in Boy Scouts, so they are "fortunate" enough to get all their camping desires out through the scout program. Which means the family doesn't have to (err...get to) camp very often. But when we do, I have learned that staying in a shelter at our nearby state park is vital. Sure, it means that we all lay on a concrete slab (rather than pointy rocks), but we have a roof over use, a screen door (which locks w/ one of those little hook things---I'm sure it's secure, right?) and there are electrical plugs (which means we can have a fan to cool us off and blow all the sand from the floor into our faces by the time we wake up). We may wake up gritty and we might have to walk 1/2 a mile to the closest potty, but it makes a world of difference to me to be able to sleep in a shelter! :)

dee said...

My hat is off to you! Your pictures are priceless! We camped overnight at the lake ONCE because, like yours, our children were begging us. That was enough for me! Fortunately, none of our children really loved it, either. I think they were in love with the idea more than anything else. But, we liked exposing them to different opportunities, as you do. I didn't like it as a child either. My brother begged our parents to take us and we went. I begged our father to never make us go again. ;-)

The Niemeyer Nest said...

I must confess that camping is not something that I look forward to doing anytime soon!

Peter and Nancy said...

I second the air mattress . . . my 40-year-old back can't sleep on the ground anymore. And my youngest (age 5) definitely feels the sleep deprivation when we camp once or twice a summer . . . she's too excited to fall asleep, then wakes up with the birds. After 2 nights, we head home!