By Contributing Mama Daphne Biener
Ah the joy of camping. Oy the pain of camping. I did my fair share of grousing and grumbling as I packed up the car and the kids this past weekend for the annual camping trip with friends. But then suddenly there we were: the great outdoors.
What I always forget about the great outdoors is this: Once the hassle of getting there is behind me; once the kids are en-fleeced and the s’mores are smokin’; once I’m finally there—there I am, totally and completely. No email to check. No last minute runs to the grocery store. Nothing to do but sit by the fire and watch the kids as they run free as fairy wood nymphs.
Ok, I’ll be straight: nothing to do in the great outdoors isn’t exactly the same as doing nothing in the great outdoors. Sit idle for days on end? Are you kidding? We were busy little campers…
We went rock climbing…
When I say that our friends Shelley and Brian are active I mean that these nutty folks scamper up the vertical face of a cliff faster than I can order a double latte. And they had somehow gotten it into their bruised noggins that the time had come to get the Bieners up the rocks. So up on the rocks we went. It was great. Turns out hubby Dave and seven year old Kira are strongly versed in the ways of the mountain goat.
Acadia and I put in a respectable effort. We are more strongly versed in the law of gravity.
And we went fishing…
Remember years ago when your mother dragged you down to Sears for a pathetically posed portrait in front of a cheesy screen of a fabricated lake and snowy peaks? Well, that place exists and it really is that beautiful. It is where we took the brood to splash around and scare up some fish.
Day one the haul was hefty but the timing off—the fish and the s’mores came off the fire simultaneously. Important parental tip: do not attempt to extract a gooey marshmallow and replace with a forced taste of fish, no matter how fresh the flipper.
Day two: My successful fisher-gals (tree-huggers who love the thrill of hunt but less so the fishy-fruits of their labor) and I discussed the merits of catch and release.
Sitting. Ahhh, sitting.
I am an active gal. A real get-up-and-go-getter. The unfamiliar ache in my armpits from clinging to a jagged rock really was special. And pulling trout from that insanely perfect lake touched me deep in my inner John Denver.
But the sitting? Oh, the sitting. I finally flexed that vestigial relaxation muscle. I sat, and did a whole bunch of not much. I watched for shooting stars. I toasted a marshmallow (ok, eighteen marshmallows.)
Yes, I know that I have tried to defend the crazy schedule of a day in our typical life, but I’m no dummy. Sitting around the fire while exhausted children sleep cozy in the tent; laughing with friends and listening to the crackle of sap bursting from burning wood; these are moments of memory-making. Ones I hope my children hang onto forever.
And those moments? I was in them. Really, really in them. I’m hoping that this tall glass of appreciation I’m sipping lasts me a while. At the very least three weeks; that’s how long I’ve got before this wagon heads west for our next camping expedition.