Back to Nature, Back to My Family

Six weeks after we moved out of our camper and into our house, we were poised to finally venture back into the camper for a weekend trip. We were going to go hiking, the kids were going to go biking, and we were going to enjoy some quality time together as a family that didn’t involve unpacking, cleaning, painting, or running errands.

Then the forecast came in: rain. Not just any, normal Midwestern rain like we were used to, but a drenching, flood inducing rain aided by a hurricane passing over Mexico with a storm system continuing into Texas. Plans changed. After living in our camper for six weeks I wasn’t risking floodwaters to spend a weekend INSIDE our camper when we could continue the unpacking, cleaning, and painting that needed to be completed in our new home.

So we stayed home, rescheduling our trip for December, the first open weekend at the campground where we made our initial reservations.

I’m pretty sure that after our six week “adventure” living in our camper, people were convinced that we were going to be done with camping. The problem with that kind of thinking was that we weren’t actually camping. We were living.

But now we are living in a house. We have our own bedrooms, a yard to run in, and all the amenities that we could ask for for comfortable living. Leaving the comforts of home to head out for a weekend in our camper isn’t a move into a smaller space. It is a move into the great outdoors. It is a move away from the pressures of home. It is a move to get closer to each other and “get away” from every day life.

Getting away meant getting all of us away from television and screens, minus my husband’s Amazon app on his phone and me posting pictures of our trip, some of the first pictures of our family in months. It meant getting our kids somewhere where they could ride their bikes without constant supervision and parental fears of them getting run over by cars. It meant our son could play with sticks, hitting trees and fighting Darth Maul. It meant our daughter could make new friends with other girls who were also camping at the campground and she could go off playing without us worrying about where she was and what she was doing. It meant going on a long hike with both kids and dogs and seeing some of the most beautiful landscape we’ve seen while camping.

Was the weekend perfect? No. Is it easy to take a weekend away from home two weeks before the end of a semester? No. In fact I was grading AP practice essays outside at a picnic table for part of the weekend. Did we have a series of mishaps both before leaving and on our way home? Yep. But none of that matters. What matters is the hike we took together as a family, my husband showing our daughter how to identify trail markers, our daughter learning how to train our new puppy, and our son taking off ahead of us, channeling his inner Chris McCandless as he yelled that he just wanted to be alone way ahead of the pack. What matters is the endless hours of exercise. What matters is the campfire and s’mores. What matters is that we came home refreshed as a family.

And now I am ready to push through to the end of the semester.


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