There was a point there, where I didn’t think I could do it: camping for the long weekend.
You see, from the time Matt knew he had the Easter weekend off to when we had to leave was less than two days. And when I say we weren’t organised, I mean the trailer had yard rubbish in it, the camping stuff was all over the garage, and I had done nothing in terms of food shopping or packing.
Two days is usually plenty of time to organise food and clothes for camping but in this case, those days were already filled with a deadline looming, a visit to the 612 ABC studios for a parenting panel about children and meltdowns and Parent/Teacher interviews.
On top of that, my husband finished work at 11 pm on the Thursday, and we really needed to leave in the morning on Friday to make it worthwhile. Crazy, crazy.
Yet, we knew time away camping was what we needed to reconnect as a family. To just drop everything and be out of house for a few days. And so Matt and I decided to make it happen. I remember reading the wisdom in these verses a while ago, and I remembered them:
If you wait for perfect weather, you will never plant your seeds.
If you are afraid that every cloud will bring rain, you will never harvest your crops.
Over the years, we’ve learned to do just this: Don’t wait until conditions are just right, but decide what is important and make it happen with the resources and knowledge you have. It’s amazing what you can do when you decide to. I can tell you, we left home on Friday morning by 10 am. Fist pump.
Were you expecting me to finish this post by saying what an amazing time we had?
We did have an amazing time. However, in between the wonderful moments there was all the things that come with reconnection.
Like when we set the tent up. The well know fact that Matt and I think and work differently becomes abundantly apparent. We know it. It’s what makes us good together, and what makes us want to kill each other.
I like to move quickly, I can see the end product in my head and my body pieces it together as I go; I’m always at least 32 steps ahead in my mind. Matt? He is slow and meticulous, and focuses on one task at a time.
To him, everything to has a proper and specific name. However, I call things, “That”, “The round thing”, “Thingo”, and “You know”. That language works with my sisters, but to my husband: it’s like I’m talking in a different language. (What’s wrong with him? Ha!).
“That, there!” I say.
I can see his mind ticking slowly.
“I’m trying to tell you!”
I’m following the plan in my head, and I can’t believe, that other person can’t see the plan too, and just know what that is because that must be the thing that goes there before this and after that in the beautiful master mind map. Seems perfectly clear to me. Yes? No? Ha!
Once the tent is up, the children are in close quarters, very close quarters, so again, differences and annoyances are amplified. My eldest pre-teen daughter yearns for quiet alone time. My youngest 5-year-old son likes to run into the tent and launch himself over everything and anything in his path. The two girls in between giggle far too much.
Talk about intense reconnection. Intense. Reconnection. Isn’t that why it is said “the family that camps together, stays together”? I think so. Despite the challenges and variation, every single one of our kids love camping. And so do we. Somehow we pull it off so everyone has a positive experience overall.
Perseverance; patience; humour: these three things are vital during…let’s go with the term intense reconnection. What an opportunity to build on relationships and recognise areas to work on! It’s like putting a magnifying glass on your family, and it’s true: you see every crack — but so too, the good, real and important things: they jump out in beautiful clarity. Ah yes, in between the adjustment, there are gold moments that melt into delightful memories.
Watching the kids play outside together and create wonderful games. Can you see it’s a nest?
Bush walking and experiencing the wonder of nature.
Watching the mist crawl up the mountain, before vanishing like a magic trick.
Listening to the sounds in the oh-so-dark.
Sometimes, I think we are crazy. I do. Yet, as Matt and I lay side by side in the tent — the smell of canvas mixed with crisp air is around us; night noises hum in the background while we listen to the sweet voice of number 2 daughter behind the thin wall of the tent, as she reads aloud The BFG by Roald Dahl to her now quiet siblings — there’s a strong sense of contentment, and we turn to each other, and whisper, “This is good.”