There is something about a family camping trip, it is often where memories are forged both with tears and laughter. It is certainly one way of seeing all the different personalities at their best and sometimes worst.
Having left home only an hour later than planned, which is pretty good for us, the five of us set off (leaving my eldest behind for the first time due to work). After a 3 ½ hour drive we finally arrived at our annual beachside camping spot, as our favourite site was taken and after much deliberation, mostly due to the large group of partying young people nearby, we chose a spot and set to putting up our tent – let the adventures begin.
We surveyed the area and took a vote on the best spot, unrolled the tent, then I change my mind –twice (in part because of an irrational fear of being humiliated due to a lack of reversing skill with a trailer and my learner driver daughter having the same fear). Laying out the tent, putting the poles in and I discover just how hard tree branches can be, almost knocking myself out on one. Peter is going with the flow, Anna is laughing hysterically at me, and Anthony is busy banging in pegs with focussed determination and Michael is focused on telling everyone what they ‘should’ be doing and when (every job needs at least one supervisor!).
Half way done and we have to move the car – again, otherwise it will be stuck between two tents, ours and the neighbours, for the duration of our trip. So after careful guidance, to make sure I don’t take out the neighbours’ tent with them watching everything, we can proceed. Meanwhile I am extremely glad there isn’t a video camera rolling to document the “how-not-to” set up a tent, though it would have been a great contender for ‘funniest home videos’, but we had fun and there was plenty of laughter.
Time for the next exciting challenge which includes the simple task of unfolding our camping table to discover tiny pink “live” animals. One little thing (because at this stage we had no idea what they were) got stuck in the hinge, tail and legs wriggling in the air, it looked like something from Jurassic Park. Once we stopped laughing at the poor thing, and freaking out at the fact they were alive, we then had to ask; what do we do with them and what are they anyway? This was one contingency we had certainly not thought of beforehand.
Thankfully the boys were more adventurous than us girls and they removed them to an undisclosed location and we proceeded to continue setting up.
As evening came the next challenge of lighting the fuel lamp and connecting the stove awaits. Just when I am about to admit I don’t have a clue what I am doing and how on earth am I supposed to make it work, it all comes together with a shout of “at last” and “thank goodness” coming from the audience.
How many times do we give up or put things off when challenged and more often than not we are just on the edge of victory or success!
Our trip was full of sun, sand, surf, flies, bees (that was something else we hadn’t encountered before), long walks and time together without the interruption of modern technology. Although it was only four days it is more valuable than gold in memories and experiences shared. As my children grow up these times will unfortunately get fewer with us all together, all the more reason to treasure them now including all the challenges along the way.