I adore my husband…And he me. But there is one disagreement that separates us one week every year. Yes. After 23 years of marriage…it still separates us…But not in a bad separation way, but rather a “have fun, hurry home!” kind of way. We hug and kiss, laugh and miss each other during this week. In preparation for my week away he locates odds and ends for me, gets excited with the kids and even packs the trailer…so that I can take the kids CAMPING…without him. He says good-bye to his Beverly Hill Billy looking family including a wife pulling a U-Haul packed to the brim with everything but the kitchen sink.
You see, I married Mr. Marriott Man. And truthfully, I’m quite thankful my man prefers crisp clean sheets, hotel coffee, and luxury everything a la carte. I enjoy those comforts, too! But as a mother of many… the great outdoors calls LOUDLY to let the kids eat dirt for one week each year.
In the earlier days when we were ironing out the kinks of our marriage like: to camp or not to camp, my husband decided to give it a try with us. We rented a camper and the sewage backed up into the bathtub causing our camper to smell like a giant port-a-potty. That didn’t settle too well with Mr. Marriot, so needless to say, he helps us pack and kisses us good bye for one week each year.
Right or wrong…unconventional or not…this makes us both happy! So I hook up with a girlfriend and her kids who also like to roll in the dirt for one week a year… She kisses her husband, Mr. Hyatt, goodbye and sets out for the great outdoors to meet us in East Texas.
What on earth makes me do this?
It’s seriously not that I like bugs biting me and scratching at my legs with my nails until they bleed, or enjoy the feel of sweat running down my chest and back while the baby is pulling at my shirt to nurse. I don’t particularly savor dirt in my hair, the floor, my sheets and…well everywhere.
I don’t appreciate the freezing rain that interrupts a glowing week of perfect weather out of the clear blue, or the surprise flood that blows away our tent.
I don’t care for the ants that chase any leftover crumb remaining around the camp site where we squat to eat.
I don’t like having to traipse through the dark, uneven ground to the eerie camp bathroom.
No. Those are not the pleasures my mind drums up when I think of our camping expenditures…
I SAVOR the sparkle in my children’s eyes when I say, “Hot chocolate’s ready!” and call them to sit around the warm fire and roast marshmallows by our campsite.
I love hearing my five-year-old express his thankfulness by saying, “I love Jesus and camping.” Comparing the outdoor vacation to his greatest declared love.
I love tired, dirty children so worn out from outdoor play that they literally fall into bed asleep…then wake up STARVING the next morning!
I love the ridiculous conversations followed by deep stirring, soul-searching thoughts, followed by hysterical laughter until yawns signal the night is over with a sister-like, best friend.
I love camp breakfasts. Camp traditions. Camp memories. Camping.
I love the memories we make and the anticipation that the memories provide for the coming year.
I simply LOVE these treasures MORE than I HATE the misery.
Misery over shadowed by life lived WHOLEHEARTEDLY if only for one week a year in the great outdoors with my energetic children and a brave best friend and her sprightly gang.
And last but certainly not least, I LOVE the pleasure of returning home to Mr. Marriott (who I miss very much during our week away) who waits with presents for everyone and details for a less dirt ridden vacation all together as a family.
So as we pack up our camping gear and anticipate the outdoor adventure we will have next year… I know I will cherish once again hearing from the back seat, “Are we there yet?”
Remember to make memories that will last a lifetime!