Mothers and summer family fun
When I thought of summer family fun my first thoughts were not of camping.
Before I got married I had never been camping in my life. I’m not quite sure how I got talked into tent camping on our honeymoon, but I guess I have to blame it on being in love.
I have to say, I actually enjoyed it for the most part, and that’s a good thing since we spent a lot of our vacations as a family camping.
When money is tight and your husband loves the outdoors, the result is camping.
I’ve always been known as a neat and organized person. Let me say up front: camping with small children does not lend itself to order.
When I asked my family what they remember about our camping trips, they all had a story to tell. All of them were about one disaster or another.
That’s right, we don’t tend to remember that one sunny day when there were no mosquitos, it was sunny but not too hot, and there was a slight breeze. Everyone was content and we just enjoyed ourselves.
Nope, no one mentioned one of those days.
This was one story none of the kids remembers, but everyone loves because they've heard us tell it so often, especially knowing how much their dad has camped.
Our oldest daughter was 17 months old the first time we took her camping. She doesn’t remember anything about that trip, and it’s probably a good thing because that’s the trip we took during a drought.
My very experienced husband did several things no camper should ever do.
- First, he squirted the charcoal fluid into the fire he was trying to start. As every good camper would expect, the fire followed the stream of fluid back to the bottle.
- Dan then threw the bottle that was on fire into the very dry woods, which happened to be right next to the tent that baby Emily was sleeping in.
- Oh, and his tennis shoes caught on fire.
As if that wasn't enough
- After almost setting the woods on fire, we got some much-needed rain.
- Dan was going to put up a tarp that we could sit under and cook while staying dry.
- Tarps have four corners, but there were only three trees near enough to tie it to.
- Dan moved our car over to that spot and tied the fourth corner of the tarp to the luggage rack of the car.
- We ate dinner and chatted in relative comfort in spite of the rain.
- We were running low on firewood so Dan decided to go get some.
- Since it was still raining, he decided to take the car.
- …but he forgot to untie it from the tree.
Ladies, you will need grace for this one—learn to laugh at yourself, but don’t laugh at your husband, at least not until later. Believe me, he will not find it funny in the heat of the moment.
A picture is worth a thousand words
One of my favorite stories is when Eric and Dan were wilderness camping. They have to portage everything they use in and out–even their garbage.
On one portage Eric had his hands full of paddles and a pack on his back and fell face first into some mud.
His dad decided he needed to run back about a half mile to get the camera before he could help Eric up so I could “make a memory” of it. When I first saw the photo I couldn’t decide which way was up.
I tend to overpack for all trips, but especially camping. I never know how far from the town we will be.
When Eric had leukemia, I once somehow forgot to pack his sunscreen. Back then there was only one he could use that wouldn’t react to the chemo he was having. Where was I going to find an Avon lady in the middle of nowhere?
We prayed and kept his jacket on in spite of the warm weather. Walking around the camping circle that evening, we found family friends camping that we hadn’t seen in a long time. We visited and got caught up. When we were leaving I decided to ask if they happened to have any Avon sunscreen. They did and gave us enough for our trip.
Seeing the Lord provide for our needs is another thing I love about camping.
Now when I think of summer fun, my thoughts do turn to camping. If you have young children, don't let it keep you from enjoying camping with them. Just pray, pack, and enjoy. You should also make note of the things you consider a disaster because they will be the things your family remembers and you will be able to laugh about them in the future.
Do you have a fun camping story to share? We'd love to hear about it in the comments!