Tags: Parenting, Party and Entertainment
We decided to go camping. In the middle of the pandemic.
It was my kids’ idea. They said, “Can we go camping? PLEASE?”
Uh-uh, no way, no, no, nope, nopey. Absolutely not. I took a deep breath and started to prepare a speech about the dangers of travel during a pandemic.
But the kids had it all planned out. They announced that we would camp in our living room, have grilled hot dogs and corn on the cob for dinner, roast marshmallows over the fire pit and make S’mores, and sleep in sleeping bags in the tent. In the living room.
OK, so no packing necessary. No need for masks and hand sanitizer and cases of disinfecting wipes. I could do this. By Saturday.
The kids immediately started “packing.” They filled up full-sized suitcases (because one always brings a suitcase when camping) with multiple sets of pajamas. Clothes and stuffed animals littered the floor.
I heard Samantha tell Ashley, in true big sister I-know-everything-and-you’re-so-little-you-don’t-know-anything fashion: “You can’t put all your stuffed animals in there NOW. Do you want your animals to suffocate? We’re not going for three more days, you know.”
Ashley faltered, “I’m just seeing if they fit. They’re still going to sleep in my bed tonight.”
Samantha, having to have the last word, replied, “Well, I’m not packing mine until Saturday morning.”
At which point, I wondered aloud, “Why are we packing suitcases at all? Can’t you just walk down the hall and get whatever you need?”
Both of my girls attacked me at that point: “MOM! This is CAMPING. We have to bring everything in the tent with us!”
On Saturday, they each brought a suitcase and several other bags of stuff into the tent. They had the tent full of animals, books, flashlights, and random accouterments as soon as it had been pitched. They laid out their sleeping bags neatly and piled blankets on top of those and arranged animals decoratively atop the bedding. (I resisted the urge to point out that their bedroom could take a lesson in neatness from their tent.) Samantha even had a framed photo of her dog set up next to her pillow.
The kids insisted that we eat dinner on the patio (never mind the weather) because you don’t eat inside when you’re camping. They bundled up and dug into their hot dogs and corn, and we made a fire in the fire pit and roasted marshmallows and discussed whether a completely black marshmallow or a lightly toasted one was best.
They stayed up late chatting like a couple of preteen girls at a sleepover and making faces at each other in the dark.
My husband and I snuck out of the tent and slept in our bed. It was the most restful night’s sleep I’ve ever had camping.
In the morning, we made waffles, which we again ate on the patio. No one seemed to notice that waffles aren’t very camping-y. They just piled them on their plates, doused them in syrup, and went back for seconds.
They spent the entire rest of the morning playing in the tent, arranging and rearranging stuffed animals, and when it was time to finally pick everything up, they both asked, “When can we go camping again?”