Our family is gearing up for a brief camping excursion. We will not be far from home because of the broilers (meat chickens) and puppies that require a little bit more attention that we can comfortably request of our friends and neighbors, but we are looking forward to our getaway nonetheless.
I don’t remember taking a whole lot of out-of-state vacations when I was a kid, but we sure did do a lot of camping. I looked forward to camping because there were fewer rules, more water play opportunities, fewer chores and more snacks. Even though our little family doesn’t camp now as much as I did growing up, I think my kids look forward to going for the exact same reasons.
Over the years, we’ve acquired a few camping traditions, like packing our bikes, breaking out the ladder ball and loading up the fishing gear (even though we rarely catch much of anything). We’ve also established several food-oriented traditions, like pancakes for breakfast and burgers for supper cooked over the fire. The kids look forward to walking tacos, which is pretty much the only time I buy those ridiculously-expensive individually-packaged bags of chips. For some reason, those little packages turn taco salad into a special occasion for our crew. We occasionally make walking tacos at home, but not with the little snack bags; I’m too cheap!
We camp in a tent, so we don’t have any microwaves or stovetops to prepare our meals. I do confess to occasionally taking a slow cooker when I know we won’t be arriving to the campground until almost suppertime anyway. It sure takes the stress out of getting everything set up if I know I’ve got a mess of green beans, potatoes and sausage plugged into the campsite hookup. My brother told me that slow cookers are not acceptable while camping. I’m a rebel.
I hope that our kids remember these little camping trips with fondness when they grow up. I hope they have fun stories to share with their kids and somehow sense how much their daddy and I enjoyed these times with them. I hope they strive to establish their own family traditions–as simple as they may be–that their children can eagerly anticipate and recount to their own families.
I also hope that, after two nights of sleeping on the ground, I can come home to a garden that needs watered and weeds that need pulled.