Back in late August we decided to take the boys camping in our back field. J was in heaven helping Joel create a fire pit in our sandy earth and gather fire wood over L's nap time. We hauled everything we would need out to the campsite: Tent, sleeping mats and bags and blankets, camp chairs, camp table for food, cooler, lamps, flashlights. We wanted it to be an authentic camping experience without any running back to the house for modern comforts. I had imagined myself sitting by the crackling fire, slowly sipping on a beer, watching the boys roast marshmallows.
That is not how it went down. L went back for marshmallow after marshmallow and we finally had to put them in the cooler causing a full meltdown in the dirt. J dropped his water bottle in the dirt, leaving it unusable. My beer went warm sitting in my camp chair's drink holder as I wiped dirt off faces, pulled eager boys back from the fire, and worked up a sweat blowing up mattresses, arranging them to fit in the tent, and putting sheets and sleeping bags on each. Then it came time to get them into the tent without all the dirt they'd accumulated. L didn't want to sleep in his sleeping bag - he wanted to sleep on the big mattress under the covers with dad. So I ended up on the small mattress in the sleeping bag. The boys surprisingly fell asleep fairly quickly but I was not comfortable and stared up at the stars until right around midnight. It started to rain. And no, we hadn't bothered with the rain fly because there was no rain in the forecast. So we picked the boys up and ran them inside to their beds and then ran back out in the rain and gathered up what we could. It ended in a huge heap in our laundry room. It took hours the next day to do all the camp laundry, fish graham crackers out of soggy boxes, break down the tent, hang the mattresses out to dry... you get the picture, I am sure.
It was challenge after challenge and I felt like a teapot boiling and on the verge of a scream the entire night.
But. The boys talk about that camping "trip" to this day. Just tonight L wanted to play "camp". They laugh at having been rained on. They remember only eating marshmallows and telling ghost stories with the flashlights under their chins. They remember building a fire and playing in the dirt.
And so I remind myself of this fact. That although I may dread something (plane travel with children anyone?) ultimately I think about the memories being made and I think about the snatches of time where the bliss is found: in sticky cheeks and little boy ghost stories, in the boys working to move logs together, each taking a side and the little one announcing that they made a good team, in my husband holding a stick with a marshmallow with two boys on his lap, in the bright stars and the trees bending in the wind.
The memories are worth it in the end.