Sunday, 5 January 2014

The truth about camping...

Many people tell me how crazy I am to embark on month long camping adventures every Summer. It's not for every one and I admit to letting some of my previous high standards slip over the years. Regular sweeping of the tent is indeed completely pointless, so I let that one go. A quick sweep every few days   is suffice, and more thorough sweeps when faced with hurricanes, generally keeps things ship shape. I will not pretend that a camping trek is the most relaxed type of holiday we could choose- especially when we have a wheelchair to factor in. It is hard work to set up and pack up camp every few days, as well as provide wholesome meals with limited resources. The wind, sand and dirt can get pretty tiresome. These are the things that are all so quickly forgotten when we are home and back into our busy routines. When we are camping we rarely look at a clock, we don't need a school bell to tell us when to eat- our stomachs rule when it is lunch time or dinner time (well in actual fact it is Jonas' stomach that usually decides because he is always STARVING). The times passes quickly, even though we rarely feel like we are doing much. The days blur blissfully as we watch the clouds change shape and colour above our heads. We notice all of the birds and insects (again Joe is usually one pointing this out to the rest of us). I realise with a shock that the children I have been looking at every day have suddenly grown and changed. I stop and really see them. There are so few distractions while we are camping. No TV, no household tasks to be done, no sense of duty. There is stillness during our long drives to stop and think and quiet time to stop and look at life around us while we sit in our camp chairs.

I look at my children and husband and really see them. Really notice their individual strengths and quirks and be grateful for the wonderful men I have in my life.

 I can see that Campbell now has one of those chiseled jaw lines that you read about in romance novels- he actually does! He has lost the childhood softness and is now looking very much like a young man. it makes my stomach churn and my eyes fill to realise with pride how far he has come. He still struggles with homesickness but has got so much better at coping with the frequent changes of scenery. Thankfully most little coastal towns have op shops with a supply of books for him to pick from.

In a snapshot moment I can clearly see that Andrew's eyes are the exact colour of the ocean behind him and they really do light up when he smiles. He is the kindest boy who jumps up when Campbell requests a drink Eric and I both have our hands full with other tasks. When I spit my dummy over junk left all over the tent floor he is the first to jump up to help sort out the mess. He is also incredibly intuitive and seems to notice a change in mood long before anyone else. He is quick to show affection and frequently offers random hugs just when you seem to need one.

Jonas' hair has become snowy white in the sunshine and his eager eyes are constantly scanning his surroundings. His long, bronzed limbs seem to have grown again since Christmas. He finds his own adventure at every camp site discovering rocks, shells, insects, birds, crabs and lizards. He shouts out across camp sites to tell us his latest discovery without a second thought to the many ears around him. I wish our family and friends could see the boisterous, energetic boy who bellows out for his brother to join his at the playground. It's not any wonder that he is always so hungry the way he bounds about with arms and legs flying around him. He sleeps well at night :)

My husband reminds me why I love him like I do. He is so patient and tolerant and so very rarely exasperated (the wind at Whyalla may have tested him somewhat). He is never too tired to make yet another trip to the toilet block (with 3 boys I do get off rather lightly) and makes us laugh with silly stories and dumb 'dad' jokes. He even makes me a cup of tea without me even asking. There is no time for us while we are camping, any whisper is noticed and overheard by one of 3 boys and then repeated loudly, for example, 'did you say fish and chips? Yes we want fish and chips!!' We always celebrate our wedding anniversary on the road and my darling husband finds the best champagne he can, no matter how remote our location. I think that is pretty romantic, especially when consumed under a ceiling of stars.

That's camping through our eyes. The wind and sand that we faced only days ago is forgotten because today the sun is shining. The bottle of cordial that was just knocked over will soak into the grass and they will just have to drink water instead. We will take home a new bunch of memories and will probably forget where we were when those memories were made- they will all blur into the camping memory treasure chest and we will continue to tell the stories for years to come.

And this is the view when we wake up in the morning!!!!

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