Making Camping Memories
by Terri Bonin
There once was an adventurous season of the past that used to separate my husband and our family for one week every year. I mentioned it last week about glamping! Now I adore my husband…And he adores me. But there was this one disagreement.
Yes. Even after 23 years of marriage…we agreed to disagree… not in a bad separation way, but rather a “have fun, hurry home!” kind of way. We would hug and kiss, laugh, and miss each other during this week. In preparation for my week away, he located odds and ends for me, got excited with the kids, and even packed the trailer…so that I could take the kids CAMPING…without him. He would say goodbye 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 would call 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 helped us pack and kissed us goodbye for one week each year.
Right or wrong…unconventional or not…this made us both happy! So I hooked up with a girlfriend and her kids who also liked to roll in the dirt for one week a year… She kissed her husband, Mr. Hyatt, goodbye and we all set out for the great outdoors to meet up in East Texas.
What on earth made me do this?
It’s seriously not that I liked bugs biting me and scratching at my legs with my nails until they bleed, or enjoying the feel of sweat running down my chest and back while the baby was pulling at my shirt to nurse. I didn’t particularly savor dirt in my hair, the floor, my sheets, and…well everywhere.
I didn’t appreciate the freezing rain that interrupted a glowing week of perfect weather out of the clear blue or the surprise flood that blew our tent away.
I didn’t care for the ants that chased any leftover crumbs remaining around the campsite where we had squat to eat.
I didn’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 SAVORED the sparkle in my children’s eyes when I said, “Hot chocolate’s ready!” and called them to sit around the warm fire and roast marshmallows by our campsite.
I loved 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 loved tired, dirty children who were so worn out from outdoor play that they literally fell into bed asleep…then woke up STARVING the next morning!
I loved 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 loved camp breakfasts. Camp traditions. Camp memories. Camping.
I loved the memories we made and the anticipation that the memories provided for the coming year.
I simply LOVED these treasures MORE than I HATED the misery.
Misery was overshadowed by a 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 LOVED the pleasure of returning home to Mr. Marriott (who I missed very much during our week away) who waited with presents for everyone and details he had planned for a less dirt-ridden vacation all together as a family.
So as we packed up our camping gear and anticipated the outdoor adventure we would have next year… On our drive out of the wilderness, I cherished once again hearing from the back seat, “That was awesome, Mom! Are we home yet?”
Remember to make memories that will last a lifetime!