Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Playing Catch-Up: Backyard Camping

When I was a little girl, my family camped every summer with a group of five other families. We slept in tents, cooked our meals over the fire, went swimming and hiking, and filled any spare time running wild in the woods near our campsites. I loved it. Many of my best childhood memories include my camping family and revolve around these annual outdoor excursions.

But now that I'm a grown-up, I avoid camping like the plague. Mosquitoes. Snakes and lizards. Pit toilets. (Or worse, no toilets at all.) No showers. Sleeping in close quarters with my children, who squirm and snore and talk nonstop throughout the night. I still fully support and enjoy cooking meals over the fire, swimming (in pools), and hiking, but the rest? No thanks. At the end of the day I want to shower off the bug repellent and sleep in my own bed, in my air conditioned house, where the risk of snake attack or lizard invasion is low and I won't spend the night sweating through my pajamas.

While in Wisconsin over the summer, my dad and Will slept in a tent in the backyard. As I could have predicted, Will had a blast, and when Hallie heard how much Will'd had, she began begging to do the same. I stalled her for nearly five months, when Tom thankfully stepped in and agreed to the kiddos camping in the backyard while I was on my annual girls' weekend with my mom and sister. (To be clear, Tom never gets mosquito bites, isn't afraid of snakes or lizards, can pee wherever he likes, doesn't mind not showering on weekends, and sleeps soundly enough that the kids' nighttime movements and noises don't phase him.)

After spending the morning tailgating, Tom, Will, and Hallie wiled away the afternoon setting up the tent and playing games in the backyard. Once darkness fell, they roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire (grill), threw Tom's glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, played Uno in the tent, and then fell asleep watching Tom & Jerry on Tom's computer.

My apologies for the quality of these photos. The phone on Tom's camera is complete garbage.

I love that the three of them had fun, and I honestly don't mind that I wasn't included in their adventure. Perhaps camping - unless someone can suggest a camping venue with no mosquitoes, snakes, or lizards; regular toilets; and showers - will remain an experience my kiddos have with just their daddy.

In closing and because my mom is reading this post, shaking her head, and muttering, "I did everything I could to teach Erin to love the great outdoors", I should clarify something. I don't hate the great outdoors...I just hate some of the animals that call the great outdoors home. I don't mind getting dirty and sweaty...I just mind staying dirty and sweaty. I don't mind being woken up by my children...I just mind being kept awake by my children. I'm trying though, Mom. I promise I'm really, truly trying. Maybe camping in the backyard will be one of my New Year's Resolutions...

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