One of my greatest memories of growing up is of our family camping trips. Our family didn’t have a lot of money and with five kids, a trip to Disneyland or someplace like that was pretty much out of the question. So we went camping. In a tent. Without electricity. And it was marvelous!
I must admit, I don’t think I could do that now, but I would go in a tent trailer or motel or something like that. I would really much rather go glamping, but I digress.
Camping meant we got our dad to make his Dutch oven biscuits. It meant we got sodas. It meant the family was all together for the weekend. It meant sometimes we camped with other families, so there were even more kids than my bratty brothers and sisters. It meant if we were at a lake, we could go into the water and look for shells and stones and if we were in the forest, we looked for animal tracks, pine cones, and leaves.
Camping meant we weren’t distracted but could play War with a deck of cards for hours or make homemade ice cream or cook marshmallows on long sticks to get them a perfect golden brown.
Camping meant my family was making memories. While to quote Dory “I have a short term remembery problem” so I don’t remember lots of details, I know that my heart warms when I think of our camping trips, and I know that I have siblings who will be only too ready to fill in the details of how I always got to ride in the front seat because I was the “privileged princess” (I actually get carsick but they will never admit that).
It was a way of getting away from the small houses we lived in, getting away from the day-to-day boredom for us (and I’m sure stresses for my parents), getting into a new setting, and being a family.
It was communing with nature. No television–just each other and the birds in the trees or water lapping on the shore.
I’m sure at the time I was annoyed because I would rather stay home in my room and read or go out with friends, but looking back now, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. If you just can’t camp, go out of town for a picnic and put your phone away. Be with your kids or with your parents or other family. Be all there with them. Enjoy the outdoors, smell the fresh air, and actually listen to the sound of nature. It’s so much better than the white noise sounds marked as “nature” on your app. It is true relaxation. And it is necessary!