Sunday, July 10, 2011
I love camping as much as the next guy. But only if the next guy hates camping. I shouldn't say I hate camping because I have some wonderful memories growing up in which I am in a tent reading a book, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, and swimming in a freezing lake. But as an adult it is a lot different. Especially when you have children.
When you are camping with children you make decisions to play games such as "Let's Go Swimming". Let's go swimming starts with finding swimsuits, goggles, blow up toys, sunblock, hats, and life preservers. The fun is really in finding all of these items in a variety of different bags that are located in a variety of different places around camp. The first team (parents) starts by asking each other a lot of questions as to where these items are based on what each parent deems to be the most important on the list. For instance, if one parent tries to find the sunblock in the car and is unable to find it she may ask of her partner, "Do you know where the sunblock is?" If her partner does not know he may say, "No, but do you know where their goggles are?" This conversation is called, "Talking Past Each Other" and is an easy mistake to make. If the parents don't catch it right away they could end up in what is called, "An Argument" and could take up valuable swim time.
But you see, the other team (children) are not actually winning when this happens. So the children intervene by letting the parent team know how badly they would like to go swimming and how all of their cousins are actually swimming at that very moment. They say these helpful comments as motivational tools to get the parent team to hurry up. In the end it is all worth it because the half hour to get ready results in a half hour of fun in the river. But what is great about this game is it lasts for as long as you are out in the woods. So after the half hour of swim time there is another half hour hour of clean up. And after the half hour of clean up there is an hour of food preparation. Again, the children team use motivational tactics that worked so well during swim preparation. Nothing says, "you guys are doing such a good job" as, "I'm sooooooo hungry". They also think of game maneuvers to throw the parent team off such as, "I don't want to eat that." Before you know it's the bedtime game. You might notice this 2 day adventure is more of a journey than a destination.
I'll be honest, while camping is tiresome it is also an amazing memory to create for the boys. I mentioned how much fun my childhood camping trips were. There are no worries when you are a kid running around in the woods. It is like the parents are the orchestrators of a beautiful ballad that keeps everything running as smooth as possible. And with all of hassle of being a camping parent now, there is nothing like the end of the day campfire with the stars shining bright. So goodbye beautiful campsite. I know you miss us already so we will come back soon.