My husband’s side of the family has been doing a mother daughter camping (M&D) trip for years. So, when I married in, Rylee and I were invited to go (well even before we married). It is a weekend usually in July when the all the women in the family pick a camp ground and spend the weekend together. Fun activities are planned for the weekend like karaoke, talent shows, games and crafts. There are awards given out on the last day for things like happies camper, fire fly, wettest camper, messiest camper and grumpy camper.
Well, I am a city girl at heart! So, while I wanted to spend time with the family, I did not want to sleep in a tent and be one with nature. So, I was reluctant to go. Plus, Rylee was just a toddler when we started to go, so camping was not relaxing at all. I had to watch her all the time and make sure she was entertained. It was downright exhausting. Looking back on it now, I didn’t realize how much these trips had meant to Rylee. She loved being around the family and going on different adventures. Who knew that a simple tent, a fire, food and great company; would mean so much to a little girl!
I remember one year, I was going through a very stressful year. Rylee was probably around 3 or 4 years old. M&D time came and I was even more stressed making sure we had everything we needed and had packed everything. I was just a mess and didn’t even know what to do with myself. I was so preoccupied with my stress that I didn’t realize it was affecting Rylee. It was night time and I wanted to just relax with the adults. So, I put Rylee to bed and she wouldn’t go to sleep. She wouldn’t stay in bed and I was getting more and more aggravated. We were sleeping in a cabin that year and she just didn’t want to go to bed. Now mind you, there were others in the cabin, so she was not alone. Plus, we were literally like 10 feet away right outside. However, she wanted to be with the adults and did not care what I said. I had finally had enough and I just wanted her to listen to me. So, I picked Rylee up like a football and carried her out of the cabin, past the fire towards a brook that was by the campsite. Someone asked me where I was going and I said “to throw her in the river”. They must have thought I was serious because my mother in law ran over and took Rylee from me and told me to take a walk.
I would never throw my child into a brook. I was at my wits end and I wanted her to listen to me. So, it was a scare tactic that apparently didn’t go over very well. It was in that moment that I realized that I was not alone! I didn’t have to go through these rough times by myself. I had people who cared about us and that were willing to help. I just needed to push my pride aside and ask for help. Needless to say that year I won grumpiest camper.
That is what these trips are for though, to be around family and get away from life. Everyone knew I was having a rough year and everyone was very helpful that weekend. Women were volunteering to play with Rylee and take her to the pool. These yearly trips were the best bonding experiences Rylee and I have shared.
Rylee loves going on these camping trips and loves to spend time with all these great women, that she has cherishes so much. I also have great memories of fun time with a lot of these lovely ladies. It has definitely y brought me closer to a lot of family; I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to spend much time with.
This year will be the first year Rylee has asked to bring a friend and I will actually have some real alone time. I am looking forward to that, but on the other hand, I am saddened by the thought of Rylee growing up! There might come a time when Rylee won’t want to go on these trips anymore, and that makes my heart ache. So, for now I am just going to cherish every moment we share together and make the most of the time I do spend with her.
However, this year I am getting a camper because I just can’t tent it anymore! Rylee will be in a tent with her friend and it will be a kid free zone for bedtime! Rylee is still young enough where she wants to sleep in the tent, so I won’t argue!
Spending time with family and close friends is very important and everyone is so busy, we don’t get to do it very often. So, try to make time to enjoy the time that you do have, because life goes by fast and soon you won’t have that chance.
Does your family and/or friends do any yearly traditions to bring you closer together?