Someone told me at church today “If you go back and listen to old school Gary Smalley messages he said once ‘if you want to give your child great memories and bond as a family, go camping’. Well, good thing something wonderful may come of our super challenging but super “fun” weekend. Upon looking for this information online, I found this quote from him, which rings so true:
The real secret to becoming a close-knit relationship is shared experiences that turn into shared trials.
~ Gary Smalley
After a less than lovely and three hours later than planned departure (don’t ask), we were on our way with nearly everything we owned (except the portable crib for Finn which we wouldn’t know until bedtime). After sticking it out to make almost three whole weeks with no fast food, we broke down and had McDonald’s on the way for dinner. We got to the campground around bedtime and stayed up later than our norm getting all set up. There were cousins which made everything more fun.
No computers, no dirty bathrooms that needed cleaning, no agenda besides to have fun. It was great. Until I realized we’d left the crib for Finn at home. We figured we’d just make him a bed and he’d sleep on the ground on his sheepskin. Notsomuch. He threw the fit of his life. I packed it up and went to the van with him. We spent the entire night in there. Me sitting up making sure he didn’t fall off the seat where he’d finally fallen asleep after a couple good hours of him screaming. Afraid that any noise I made would wake him I tried to freeze and sleep for about 6 hours. Instead of sleeping, I stared at trees and listened to him breathe and looked for signs up daylight. There is something very un-fun about being awake when everyone else is asleep.
Some coffee and some happy campers beckoned me to choose happy and get on with the adventure. We searched for crabs and found hundreds. Finn chilled in the Boba on daddy’s back and looked positively exhausted, which made me slightly annoyed because really, he got more sleep than me. By a longshot.
My sister, who is a rockstar, braved camping not with a needy 16 month old and four other kiddos but instead with a growing baby in her belly and her own two littles. She deserves an award. We both do, here is our game face the morning after camping, night one:
Our two girl cousin buddies enjoyed each other as always…
Finn loved him some Papa…
It’s been just over a week. I swore I’d never do it again at about 3 AM both nights while Finn kept me from sleep. But you know what? Our kids would tell you it was the best ever and a super fun weekend. These are the things that memories are made of. And as my sister so astutely observed ‘the terrible awful just sort of melts into the wonderful’. One minute I was curled up in a ball in a van seat with a baby who wouldn’t sleep and shortly after I was sitting at the beach listening the absolute glee while my children found crabs of all colors and patterns and delighted in the simplest things.
It is that truth that leads me to say that probably, we will do it again. Maybe we’ll do it a little better or maybe not. But we will try again, we are crazy like that.