It feels good to be back!  After 8 days of camping in the redwoods, sleeping in a tent and otherwise roughing it, my bed has never felt so good.  I’m not an avid camper.  I just participate in this get-away each year in order to socialize with extended family.  There is always an adjustment period, but I’ve found that once I get used to being outside 24/7, I do begin to relax, allowing the layers of stress to slip away.  Children are a big part of this event, so there is never a shortage of fun.  I noticed this year that whenever we would leave camp to go on a hike, run to town or go down to the river, the kids referred to our camp as “home.”  “When are we going back hoooome?” they would whine.  I was struck by the fact that the homey structures and belongings we had all left behind in order to be together, really weren’t “home” to our kids.  To them, home consists of family, specifically parents and siblings.  I never once heard a child whining about missing one of their possessions.  They all took to the woods easily, never looking back.  Oh, there were moments when boredom reared its ugly head.  But then some creative soul would make a suggestion and the whole camp would come alive again, collectively engaging in some new activity.  The day-to-day behaviors that drive parents to distraction were as present in our campsite as back in our homes.  The same kids who whine about toothbrushing or showering, or who leave gum wrappers and books strewn around their rooms, consistently did so at camp too.  We parents laughed and commiserated.  We comforted ourselves with the knowledge that we all have our challenges, challenges that really are not so very different.  It was hard to say good-bye, but once the tears were dried and we settled in for the long drive ahead, we parents were all assailed with the same familiar refrain, “When are we gonna get hoooome?!”  

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