With desperation, I clutch my travel mug of wine while Alice clings to me, wailing away. Henry is running back and forth across the floor of the six-man tent, staggering like a drunken sailor, screeching at random and occasionally jumping on Ada who is hopelessly trying to save herself by curling up in the corner of the tent. She looks at me with anguished eyes.
I persist, “I grew up camping, Blake, and all of my best childhood memories were of us kids outside. I want our kids to have that too.”
Riding on the coat tails of my dear friend Lianne and her family, we piggy-backed onto a pre-organized group camping affair comprised of a number of local families with young children. I have never camped so closely with so many people, but it ended up being a blast.
The kids were entertained and all played well together on the beach, in the water, on their bikes and along the zipline that a few of the dads rigged up. We had a great afternoon and feasted on campfire veggie dogs for dinner. The kids were loving it up and everything seemed to be going smoothly.
|Slack-lining, biking, ziplining!|
|Henry kept saying, “Let’s go on a little adventure!”
Which meant hiking a little trail in the woods near our campsite that went to a
bridge connecting to a tiny island. He loved it!
However, the situation changed after dinner as the wind picked up. Blake had to leave us to tend to our boats at home that were blowing off their moorings. That left me, alone, with the kids to do bedtime. Yes, you know where this is going…
Because the kids hadn’t napped in the afternoon, they were both over-tired, hot messes and despite my efforts along with Lianne’s generous help, it all fell to pieces.
By 10:30pm, I called Blake to come rescue us and braced for his “I told you so” while I packed up the tent in the dark with two screaming children. My disappointment surged through my hot tears. How could we be the adventuring family that I envisioned if we couldn’t even get through one single night of car camping?!
When Blake pulled into the campsite, Henry was holding his bike in one hand and had his camp chair flung over his opposite shoulder. “Let’s go home!” Henry exclaimed. I had to laugh. What an epic disaster!
That night, after the kids were finally settled in their beds, Blake pulled me close. “I’m so sorry that it didn’t work out. Thank you for all of your work in trying.” His words soothed my battered pride. “We’ll try again another time, ” he assured me.
At that moment, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that in less than a month, we had a four-day camping trip booked to take the kids to the Winnipeg Folk Festival! Oh dear… I think I’m going to secretly have to book a hotel!
On this Father’s Day, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without a special shout-out to Blake. Thank you for all that you do for our family. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do the job that I love so dearly, to live in this gorgeous place and to be able to raise two bright, happy and active little ones. Thank you for your bending your good sense to my lofty plans, for not saying “I told you so” and for promising to try again.
Here’s to the many happy and not so happy camping adventures to come for our family with you by my side. We love you, Dad-Dad!