Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Four kids + camping = FUN

Around these parts camping is a part of life. Every summer you head to the nearest body of water with some friends or family, take camping gear, a fishing pole, bug spray, some food and you’re set.
A cheap weekend of bug-bitin’, skin-burnin’ fun!
I grew up camping. Every summer our extended family would gather at one of the area lakes, pitch some tents and stay there a while, creating memories filled with cousins covered in mud, swimming in ice coolers, hot dogs on the grill and more.
And we still go every year, just now, us kids have babies of our own.
Matt and I attend faithfully every year, leaving at dusk with apologies, citing our baby on the way or baby just born as the reason we cannot camp.
But this year, with our final baby nearly a 1-1/2 years old, we decided to join the ranks of the all-night campers — all six of us in our four-person tent!
The kids were very excited as we loaded up the Suburban to capacity and headed to our destination. I felt there was really no way this could go wrong. My plan: to wear the kids out so they literally collapsed inside the tent as we zipped them inside.
So, after dinner, fishing, s’mores and visiting, we made our trek to the tent. Matt kept saying, “Let’s just go home...” But instead, we continued on.
The kids were passed the point of exhaustion and had slid into the delirious, silly phase. One moment they’re squealing with joy, the next screaming out of complete over-stimulation.
We purposly went to bed while everyone else was still awake, as to not keep them up as we waited out the storm in our tent.
Inside our tent was a catacombs-like pile of bodies (ours were alive though) and pillows and blankets. Masen (the youngest) jumped from end to end like a spider monkey, not caring who he landed or stepped on. This (I’m sure you can imagine) led to loud protests by the other three who then began to shove around, in a get-off-me war that seemed to last forever.
Eventually, (after ignoring several pleas from Matt to give up and go home), one by one kids began to drift off.
Bella was the last to give it up, not surprisingly, and she was also the one who woke up at who-knows-what-time in the morning to wail loudly into the silent wilderness for a long 15 minutes.
No one slept well on the hard ground, especially in a tent made for a much smaller family.
And soon the sun was up. And so were the kids.
No rest for the weary.
My first words to Matt, “That was a bad idea.”
But not even a week later, we were planning to camp again next year, with modifications of course.
I’m thinking camping is like childbirth. If you remembered how awful it was, I’m sure you’d never do it again!

As seen in the Lawrence County Record

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