Thursday, July 22, 2010

Work Home and Family - Making Time (Our Camping Trip)

Ahh - camping...

I've never been much of a true "camper" - you know the kind: tent, sleeping bag, hiking stick and backpack and all the rest.

However, I did love spending summers at my Uncle's lake cabin! It was a rustic cabin - no running water, outhouse out back, a lake or a wood-heated sauna (depending on the weather and time involved) if you wanted to wash. But it had walls, and a deck, and a real bed and a real table. Nothing fancy - that was for sure! - but it was on the lake, with beautiful trees, and no telephone or television. Just perfect for getting away from the messiness of daily life and spending time with friends and family. We had many a fish fry with fish caught that morning and wonderful blueberry deserts (picked by those that didn't go fishing that morning!) while chatting with family and friends at that cabin. I remember being to little to either fish or pick blueberries and doing the made-up scavenger hunts my Mom left for me to do with my Grandma, who couldn't walk well due to arthritis and certainly couldn't climb into a fishing boat. I learned to fish off that dock, to swim in that lake, and how to grow geraniums on that deck. I also learned what an amazing sight the Northern Lights are. And that you really don't want to run into a raccoon during a trip to the outhouse in the middle of the night! :) Good memories for sure!

The park we were at was perfect for us - real sand beach, hiking trails, lots of wildlife and flowers, and a cabin that was in close proximity to both the outhouse and the potable water spigot.

John and I hadn't been 'camping' with the kids before. And, to be honest, we've never camped in a tent together, although we registered for and received one for our wedding. (We later sold it at a garage sale.) John was the one that wanted to take this camping trip. I had had other plans involving a city, a hotel with hot tub and indoor swimming pool, museums and shopping! (Not that we had any money for shopping but the idea was nice!). No, John really wanted to take the kids camping. So about a month ago - last minute when it comes to reserving sites! - we reserved a camper cabin at a Minnesota state park and spent 4 days blissfully unplugged from our everyday lives.

We went hiking, we watched the fire, we sang silly camp songs, we sang not-so-silly and some really silly church songs, we watched the kids' put on a 'talent show' for us every night (complete with really goofy knock-knock jokes!), and we just spent time reveling in being a family.

We take far too little time to just be a family in today's culture. It seems that there's always something more that needs to be done or something that we have to get to. I found it a little funny that John was the one on this trip who had to run out and take a shower every day (we went swimming, doesn't that count? :) ) and who was impatient that it was taking some time for the coffee to brew in this lovely pot (he doesn't even drink coffee!). I'm usually the impatient one! Not him. He's the one that just takes everything in stride and rides the waves. Me? I'm the one rushing from this to that to the other thing.

I guess I'm one of those people who needs to seriously unplug every once in a while. I need to remove myself from all the 'distractions' and refocus my energy. If I didn't have so many irons in the fire, so to speak, I probably wouldn't have to do that as often. But for me, it's necessary. We take a week in the summer and one over Christmas to just "be" a family - look at the flowers, follow a butterfly, make snow angels, or go sledding. John and I take 3 days over our Anniversary to just be a couple - no kids, no work or school, just us. For me these are necessary.

Some days I wish I could be like John. Able to take that time to play with the kids without thinking about all the other things I have to do. To spend that time deep in thought and conversation without worrying about my to-do list.

John hasn't worn a watch almost the entire 17 years I've known him. Wearing a watch makes him nervous and he can't concentrate on what he's doing - he's too worried about the time.

Maybe we can all learn a lesson from this - time is what we make it. And worrying about it certainly won't increase it. In fact, I'm convinced it shortens it.

We need to make it about long-term goals and gains. Like our relationships with family and friends that take a long time to mature and ripen. Like keeping our homes and our possessions as the Lord would have us and as good stewards making the most of what we have. Like doing things that influence and help others in lasting ways.

Funny how a little down time in a whirl-wind paced life can remind us of those things.

What more can I ask for?

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