Thursday, August 21, 2008

The morning after the night before

The morning after the night before...

The season of summer warrants many assorted activities, outdoor ones for the most part due to warmer weather. As you can see in the photo above, our family recently acquired two new tents and our children were thrilled to and eager to set them both up this day.

We have never been a camping family. My husband used to tell me he grew up camping and never liked it. I always felt like the deprived wife because her husband wouldn't go camping when our children were younger, mostly because I too had never been introduced to the joy of camping either when growing up. I just kept thinking of all the simple and pleasurable (and cheap!) experiences we missed out on as our children arrived and the years have passed. Oh sure there have been a few exceptions to the rule, though we barely owned anything of a family tent along the way.

My husband's dislike of camping came back to haunt him when our oldest son was seven years old, accompanying him and one little neighbor boy to their Boy Scout Beaver camp overnight. In the middle of the night, after way too many hotdogs, the neighbor woke up and decided to empty his stomach in the center of the tent, much to my husband's already skeptical idea of revisiting his disdain for the whole thing.

Hotels and renting cottages soon became his ideal type of summer excursion. I can't recall just how many conversations became heated followed by plenty of laughs on the topic of the joy of camping as a family, mainly the children often attempted to coax their father into trying the camping excursions just like all the other families we knew taking them. Tent, camper or otherwise, he just preferred hotels and motels and was going to stick to it. Even campers and motor homes were just not really his thing, although we were really comfortable in our daughter in law's parents motor home one year, complete with fireplace to keep warm. (wink)

Yesterday, that all changed at our home, at least for our children with the new tents to try out, enjoying their own camping experience here at home just for fun.

First order of business;

  • Big brother organizing and delegating the set up while mom takes sister to her appointments.

  • Next, more assistance required to establish it all "just so".

  • Happy little children fill up the tents their way, before mom comes to rearrange it all her way (with flashlights and bow up mattresses for one...).

  • Notice the girls' tent area outside the front flaps where our daughter places her shoes with love and care.

  • Notice the boys' tent has no such area for shoes and they don't actually even care!

All four children enjoyed a bonfire and evening activities outdoors before retiring to sleep in our new tents, late in the evening. Yawning a great deal, all attempted to settle in comfortably while mom began to wonder about the dogs barking a great deal, wanting to be with the children in this strange evening event before their eyes.

It didn't help that flashes of light danced in the darkness on the inner walls of each tent, patterns were created with the entertainment each child provided for one another, and unknowingly, for the dogs. Both dogs eventually settled down nearest to the gate of their enclosed nightly pen, the nearest area to the tents, instinctively providing protection to their owners. There they slept all night long, rather than rest comfortably inside the barn. How sweet this was to see! As per usual for our family, the girls took a while to settle down and the boys were asleep first.

It had been a very warm and humid evening before they entered the tents, but because the temperature has been plummeting more lately by morning, plenty of blankets were supplied in case they became necessary as well as the sleeping bags.

Precisely at 6:30am the next morning (today), mom quietly strolls out through the damp dewy grass to wake up our older daughter for work, noticing how much watery dew is running down the outside of each tent. The temperature outdoors read 68 degrees, quite the drop from the 90 degrees the day before. brrrrrrr....... good thing for the extra blankets, good thing the children had everything they required. In fact, I was impressed no one wandered into the house during the night, all braved the night hours together in their tents.

When I stumbled back indoors, it was here when I began to wonder whether or not I slept at all, though I knew I had for a bit but only little snippets here and there. Certainly the children felt they didn't sleep much, hearing the zillions of crickets, the hoot of an owl, and other such unfamiliar night noises not heard from the comfort of their own beds inside the house.

When the break of day dawned and all of the children were disturbed from their broken slumbers after the (rainforest of) birds residing in the trees nearby began to sing their songs, before daybreak, there were a few disgruntled comments made to one another before each slowly began to doze off a bit more afterwards.

"When did these birds become so loud?" they wondered

"Is it morning already", some declared.

"Who wants to brew the coffee today?", Mom asked
Little did they know, I would require a STRONG dose of the java this day!

The caffeine slowly filled my veins and lifted me off my bottom to work up a storm here this day. The laundry for the family is already complete, the tent contents are on the clotheslines to dry and air out, children were taken here and there for their activities and the boys were participating in their very first golf tournament today.

"Wow, will they be too tired?", I wondered...


Our morning boy is home as I type this, winning sixth place with twenty-eight participants in his category. Not bad for someone who didn't sleep much. Not bad for a "rookie". Not bad considering he went to have fun and came home with the same attitude. He had fun! That is all that matters. Our older son though, I know he's having fun but I'm not sure how he faired yet. He must be tired....

Isn't this the kind of memory children carry with them into adulthood. Oh, the days of summer, they are indeed filled with amazing moments of restless wonder.