Thursday, July 12, 2012
Rite of Passage
My grandmother had eight children. When you have eight children your vacation options become extremely limited unless you have the good fortune of being an Astor or a Rockefeller. She was a Maestretti of Sacramento. Grandma has a twin sister who had 13 children and also was not an Astor or a Rockefeller. She was a Walsh of Reno. Every summer my grandmother and her twin were probably at their wits end with how to entertain the zoo of children they had. Somewhere along the line budget and a desire to change the scenery dictated that family vacation was a good old camping trip.
My mom says that they would book several weeks at a time; the moms would pack up the kids in station wagons or vans and trek up to a campground. The dads, in true 60s style, would drive up for the weekends and head home for the work week. While my dad's family didn't camp quite as often as my mom's family, both my dad and my uncle were boy scouts (in the same troop as my mom's brothers, actually) who would camp regularly with my grandpa (their dad) who was their fearless leader.
My parents camped regularly in their college years with family and with my father's college geology club. My mother, aunts and their cousins are all known for bringing newborns on camping trip, rather than miss out on the fun. As a kid we would camp for a week or two at a time whenever we came to California for a visit. Having a summer birthday means I spent many a birthday camping.
With camping ingrained into my DNA, naturally I regularly take my kids camping, right? Not so much. While camping may be in my DNA it is all but missing in my husband's. Apart from two failed attempts when Tyler was little we have never taken the kids camping. Until a few weeks ago when we went to Camp Fresno with friends.
To say these kids took to camping like fish to water would be an understatement. Within seconds of getting out of the car Charlotte was sitting in a dirt pile, dumping dirt on her head. Lily loved every second of our trip. Tyler conqured some serious height fears to jump off a rock into a swimming hole. Minutes later I saw firsthand how scary it was when I jumped myself.
What made itself glaringly clear was how much work camping is for moms and complete and utter bliss it is for kids. My friend and I were talking and she said something so great, "When you are a kid camping just happens. We never thought about who packed up the car, who put up the tent or how food got made."
Pretty much my thoughts exactly. Can't wait till next year.