The summer doesn’t ever really end here in Texas. OK, well, maybe we get a little break in January or February sometime…and there’s a week we call “spring” and then it’s right back to summer again. But the kids are back in school and so, in that respect, summer has come to an end.
Our oldest just goes to preschool and, therefore, does not appreciate the significance of the summer vacation just yet. But that didn’t stop us from having a last-weekend-of-summer camping celebration.
Well for Heaven’s sakes, you didn’t think I meant actual camping OUTSIDE, did you??! It’s like 147° out there and the mosquitoes will just carry you right away.
And yes, there are two tents. One for our 4-year-old and one for us.
Except for the sleeping-all-night-on-the-floor part, it was pretty fun. We got some movies, got into our PJs early and piled onto the blankets and pillows. We even made s’mores. Living room camping was a big hit and might even be the start of some kind of new family tradition.
Yes, that tent is a giant giraffe and he loves it! My friend Erica, who is featured regularly on here, sent it to him for one of his birthdays and it remains a huge hit.
This little camp-in reminded me how simple it can be to create a fun family memory. I’m a planner and I’m detail-oriented and I like to be prepared for things. (Read: I’m a control-freak who over-thinks things.) And sometimes in my brain a fun family memory takes all this orchestrating and planning and set-up…which feels overwhelming and then I don’t do it. Our son thought this was so cool and couldn’t believe we were all going to sleep in the living room (I shared some of his disbelief about this fact!) And s’mores??!! At home? He was beside himself.
Interesting enough, once we got all settled in – he was glowing with our intentional togetherness that seemed fresh thanks to the tents – he didn’t care so much about the movie, he only ate part of one s’more and then asked several times when it was time to go to sleep.
Even though he had shared in our enthusiasm for planning it out, what he really wanted was the togetherness…the safety…the simple act of being with us without any other agenda. As I watched him fall asleep just a few feet away from me, clutching Spiderman while inside his giant giraffe, I told myself to pay attention – to remember this lesson. We could have spent money and a lot of energy planning a “real” camping trip or some other labor-intensive memory-making orchestration that might have exhausted us and it wouldn’t have been any better as far as he was concerned. He just wanted us there, engaged with him, doing something a little out of the ordinary, a little whimsical. “You don’t always have to make it so hard,” I heard myself telling myself. I hope I was listening.