“Not a chance!” I responded recalling the aches and pains from the last such adventure. “I’ll stick with our very modern RV, thank you very much.”
“Ah, come on Mom. It was fun,” chirped one of the children. “I’d do it again. We all would.”
“Yeah! Remember the time we all danced around the campfire? We looked so dorky,” said our oldest daughter, laughing.
“I remember that,” commented another of the girls. “You’re right, we did look dorky. But that was so cool. How about that hail storm in mid-afternoon or that thunderstorm early in the morning in the Badlands? And that double rainbow was awesome,” she continued.
“I remember that ice cold water in that stream where we went swimming. Where were we anyway?” asked one of my boys.
As the exchange continued between the children, I was amazed at all they recalled, compared to my own memories. Oh sure, I remember all the funny things they did and the awesome things that happened, too. But for some reason I remember, more readily, the planning, loading, unloading, losing and then finding all the items necessary for those camping trips.
With five children, it seemed a chore just to get through breakfast. Actually, that wasn’t so bad. My husband usually got the camp cook stove out and had the bacon going by the time I had the nearly two-year-old up and dressed. The oldest, at thirteen, was wonderful helping to fold sleeping bags, while the nine-year-old helped set the picnic table. My seven and five-year-old seemed quite content exploring and entertaining themselves while I finished unloading all the particulars of the tent and putting clothes away. It wasn’t long before we were all sitting down to eat.
Thankful for a routine, then there was clean up, which began by retrieving the dish water that had been heating on the stove while we were eating the breakfast feast. My oldest, this time, helped her Dad and younger brother take down the tent while the second oldest helped with the dishes and the youngest daughter entertained the baby.
Before long we were all back in our van traveling to places yet to be discovered. It really was a grand time, actually. It helped to cement the now solid relationship between the children and us, as parents. It was a time of adventure; a time of learning. Each day brought new and different experiences.
The hail storm that blew in that hot afternoon caught everyone by surprise. It left four inches of ice pellets around our tent. The storm lasted so long and winds blew so fierce my husband wrapped the two little ones in sleeping bags for protection and carried them from the wind blown tent to the van where they would be safer. He returned for the next two. My oldest and I made a mad dash behind him to take cover, as well. The storm finally ended and then everything was wet. A heavy fog followed and nothing was completely dry to sleep on that night. But what a tale to tell!
The storm in the Badlands also blew in fierce and quick. I was the first to waken early one morning. In ten minutes our family had both our tents down with everyone and everything in the van just before the heavens opened. But oh my! An incredible sight was suddenly before us. Against the dark black sky, a double rainbow graced our view!
There were bears that crossed right in front of our vehicle on a mountain road, a skunk that visited our campsite, a doe that wanted my bacon greased napkin, a snake that nearly scared me out of my wits and people we met, who we now call our friends.
We've been blessed. This was a special time in our life; when the children were young and we couldn’t afford a luxury RV but possessed a tent and sleeping bags. That was the best of the best with my family. We've shared experiences and adventures, but mostly we shared love; a love that is sure and solid; a love that is family.
I challenge you to recall your family memories….or make new ones! These memories are to be cherished and are sometimes what keep us going when things grow dark and gloomy!