Happy Camping

We recently found ourselves with a few free weekends in a row. This isn’t something we are used to, so we were a bit out of practice as we tried to decide how we would fill this (now) empty space on our calendars. There were family events that we actually said yes to. The girls made plans with their friends. We spent a Sunday afternoon in the pool. These are things that actually happened but I feel like a complete liar saying that they did because I’m just not used to it being this way. I kept waiting for someone to yell at me for not being where I was supposed to be.

As our family sat down to discuss our recent scheduling changes, it became painfully obvious that our family needed some down time. We weren’t staring at an open week-long vacation, but being able to see some free time in weekend form made us all a little excited. Then the kids got this look on their face and said “we can actually go camping!” and then I felt pretty bad that it had been so long. In fact, we did the math this weekend and realized that it had been four years since our family had been camping. Four. Years.

That one stung, you guys.

Thanks to my dad being a super duper camper-man, we were able to make an overnight camping trip happen this past weekend. He knows where to go. He has all the gear. He’s just really…GOOD at it and made things really easy for those of us who haven’t been camping in some time. Like, really easy. I should be embarrassed. (I’m not, though.)

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After we got up there on Friday evening and everything was set up, I sat down on a chair around the empty fire pit (too dry for campfires) while my dad and The Dude talked near me. I was part of the conversation at times, but mostly I just sat and listened. Sometimes I tuned them out and just looked at the sky as it got darker and the stars began to appear. The moon was so bright, there were actual moon shadows around us and no need for flashlights or lanterns. It was beautiful and wonderful. It was also weird and sometimes hard to sit there and do nothing. I am out of practice.

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I used to be really good at camping. I would go hiking with the family or youth group. Camping family reunions. As I sat there around the non-existent campfire, I replayed many of these camping and hiking trips in my mind. Almost all of them involved my dad. Most of my camping memories, my dad is right there making things happen. Just as he did this weekend. His granddaughters (and daughter) wanted to go camping so he made it happen. Some things never change.

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I didn’t realize how much I missed camping. This weekend reminded me that it’s still very much a part of who I am and what I love. I almost gave myself a guilt trip for not doing this more often, but I quickly put a stop to that so I could enjoy my cute family without interruption. I loved being out in nature, even with wicked mosquitos and questionable bathroom options. I loved sitting around an empty fire pit with some of the people I love the most. But I especially love remembering, and getting back to, a side of me I haven’t seen in quite some time.

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