I’m writing this blog from a campsite in Rocky Gap. It’s chilly and cloudy, and it rained all night long. It’s supposed to start raining again this afternoon, but I’m trying to channel positive thoughts.
I’m on the annual “mom’s and kids” camping trip. A few of my friends and I have been taking our kids camping every June for the past five years. Every year we loose some and gain some. This year there are five families. Since the trip fell over Father’s Day, a couple of moms brought their husbands. The rest of us left the dad’s home alone. There are seven adults and 18 kids—give or take. One family is leaving after the first night and another family is coming.
When I was packing up all the camping stuff, I swore to my kids this was the last year we were doing this. Camping is a real pain. It took more than three hours to pack—maybe even four. And when we arrived, there was no relaxing until the tent was up, mattresses blown up and all the stuff unloaded.
But somehow, we always end up having so much fun that we plan it again the next year — even when it rains and our tents leak.
There’s just something about camping. When the tent is set up and the kids are off playing hide and seek tag, swimming, or telling ghost stories, there’s time to just kick back. And even if I’ve brought my computer with the hopes of getting a bit of work done, the battery only lasts so long. And then there’s nothing to do but nap, or take a swim or to sit around and chat with friends.
While we are here, the kids reminisce about the years past — like the time we got caught in a downpour while hiking, or when we all went to the beach in the pitch dark to see the stars, or the year we got in trouble with the rangers for trying to swim across the lake. These are memories they will have for a lifetime and so will I.
So even though there’s thunder in the distance and my car is full of soaking wet stuff, we’re already talking about next year’s trip.
I can’t wait.
FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 13, Lilly, 11, Adam, 11, and Jonah, 7.