Thursday, June 19, 2014

 The camping thing, and why it's worth it

Our newly created tradition, started only one year ago, is now cemented in McCallum family forevers. 

It's the last day of school camping expedition.

Last year it was a surprise, and that can not be recreated. But the fun and excitement lives on. We went to the same place we did last year. Nothing really stands out about this simple state park nearly an hour and a half north west of here. Nothing spectacular, and yet it's a niche we have carved out and it means something to us now.

So we went. We started out our summer vacation with the camping trip of yes.  The boys have worked hard this school year, and it has been packed busy. Dave and I talked about how much they have done, how spread thin we had become, and how much we desired for these guys of ours to relax and be able to enjoy this time away. We wanted to say "yes" as much as possible.

To be honest, we very likely had to say "no" as much as we mellowed out and threw around that lovely "yes". We are in that training parenting phase, and we couldn't let that guard down. However,

there were two toasted marshmallows, when there may have only been one.

The moon was rising into the sky before little eyes were closed.

Biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking, swimming, and sandcastle making happened multiple times.

It was good. Tiring, and good. Dave and I noted, on more than one occasion, that All Of The Things required a great deal of effort {"Did you get the sunscreen? Go back and get the sunscreen. Life jackets? Oh, we need bug spray. Give me about 20 minutes to load up bikes and kayaks. Ok, we need to patch a tire, nope, need a new tube. There's a Meijer about 15 minutes from here. Oh, did we get worms? Time to unload this and reload that, then reload that and unload this. The anchor is caught around a tree??! Let's unload the bikes. We need to load the canoe. WHERE'S THE BUG SPRAY?!"}

and at times the "effort" itself took longer than the event requiring such preparation.

Worth it. Every single minute. This is our life. The life. Our gift from God that we desire to turn around and become our gift to Him.

At one point we were out on the lake with K, Noe, Kai, and Dave in the Canoe, Jay in his new kayak, and I in Dave's Kayak. It started raining, a soft but steady soaking. I looked around and had to grin. This is it. I was paddling water onto my rain soaked capris and looked around me.

The boy mom life. Defined. Right here.

Really, there's allot of work involved in all of this. Sometimes it feels like we clean up after one meal only to face the beginning stages of the next. We get physically tired, and feel like we need a vacation from our vacation. But this - it's what we do. We've been entrusted with these lives. We only get one shot. We are not investing in high dollar vacations and entertainment. Partially because that's just not us, partially because, let's face it - we can't. 

So, we do this. And we say yes. And we love big.

We make the ice cream

We drown a few worms...

 And that one fish? - The one that just barely squeaks through in crossing the line to "big enough" - it's worth it.

We do the campfire thing over and over...

 And the food. All Of The Food...

-We use any and every teachable moment that we can. We invest our time and energy into these lives. And guess what? These lives give back. Big time.

This mud throwin' dude is a prime example.

Seeing him walking on the beach made me tear up. I don't know what it was. He's been walking independently, sans walker, for several months now - but there was something about watching this big boy navigate the uneven terrain of sand and water....

I don't know, it just got me. 

I was a ways up on the beach, and he repeatedly would find drift wood, shells, and lovely things, such as seaweed, that he would haul up the beach to where I was relaxing.

And every time I watched him make the trek up the beach, walking, My heart would beat,


So, really - we don't just do it for the boys. There's great effort to make this happen. Planning and toting, lifting and packing, cleaning and cooking, unpacking and refereeing.

But there are some things you just can't see or experience unless you put that effort in. Somethings only become clear when you step away from home and routine and step onto more uneven terrain.


Kristin said...

For real. I was just about to write a funny post on camping and why no one should go. And you go an ruin it with all of the great things you guys do:)

So awesome to create great memories for your boys. Keep it up mamma. Way to influence.

Andrea said...

What a fantastic tradition! I have so many favourite memories of camping as a kid, it is quite an effort and you always need *so* *much* *stuff*, but it's worth it. :)

Your pics and words about K walking on the beach - I had tears. He is one amazing kid.

Megan said...

I hear ya' on the whole camping thing. Its a LOT of work, and yet so rewarding all at the same time.
But MOSTLY I had to comment because I remember when I started reading your blog. Caleb was SO small and SO young. AND WOW. He is REALLY turning into a young "man." And the walking... TISSUES. This is why you have to keep writing Wendi. We ALL TREASURE the victory's and the struggles that you so candidly share. Love it!

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Wendi, your writing hits me in the emotional gut nearly every time. It's true, there's a lot of work involved with going camping and yet the rewards are bountiful and sweet. My parents made the effort and I am glad for it.