Here’s a story about how a mom from the city survived an entire day and night on her first camping trip. I thought I’d never say this, but that mom was me.
My camping experience started with painful farewell. I say painful because I had to say goodbye to control and to planning. I tried packing everything my camping expert friends suggested: sunblock, bug spray, tennis shoes etc. What they forget to mention was that I wouldn’t need to pack my mommy chip.
When we arrived at the Huntsville National Park, it was just like the movies. We pitched our tent in the woods, next to a beautiful lake. I could tell my kids were excited by the looks on their faces.
I mentally organized where everything was going as we unloaded the car. I was focusing so hard on making sure things were perfect that I wasn’t aware of what was happening. I looked up and noticed my kids had already arranged all their stuff and were ready to explore.
It wasn’t exactly the way I would have done it, but in that moment I realized that I would have to leave my mommy chip behind. It was therapeutic. And I learned so much.
I learned that letting go empowered my kids and helped their self-confidence. I enjoyed watching and respecting their independence and decision making skills. I was always a step behind them, watching out for any danger.
On this trip I realized that what kids want most is to play with their parents. No gadget will ever replace old-fashioned fun, such as dad and son throwing a football or watching my daughters bobbing for lemons or running through an obstacle course or tossing a frisbee or simply telling jokes around the bonfire.
We were all kids again. And my husband and I forgot to ask typical questions, like: What time is it? Did the kids finish their homework? Is it time to bathe them? Did they finish their dinner? Nothing was more important than being in the moment.
I’m not saying that we should live our lives without a routine or in chaos. I believe that a routine is important because it gives kids structure. Nonetheless getting a break every once in a while is healthy and necessary to nourish and develop the valuable parent-kid relationship.
Throughout our camping trip, my only worry was not knowing what would happen after sunset. Did we bring enough flashlights? Would we be afraid? Suddenly when everything was dark I realized that all those fears were mine and only mine. The fear disappeared instantly when one of my friends asked me if I had seen the beautiful sky. Thousands of stars were shining bright above our campsite. I felt wonderful.
I never thought I would say this, but I loved camping! On our way back home when I saw my exhausted kids sleeping in the car, I understood how valuable it is to “sacrifice” a bit of comfort and cherish their childhood because they’ll soon be teenagers.
Finally, I want to thank each and every one of the families who shared this experience with us. Thanks to all their camping expertise my family and I were able to enjoy this weekend adventure to the max. We’re so ready for next year!
Beat the heat and go camping before summertime arrives. Yo Mariana guarantees you’ll have an amazing time!