Remember when we went . . . .

By Judy Brault - June 1, 2007
Some of my earliest memories were of going camping with my family - all eight of us - for a week once a year. Those weeks were great, but I seem to remember that they involved a ton of work for my mother and, what seemed to a young girl, an endless string of chores.

Due to divorce, I became a single mom of two young children. At that time, I decided I didn't want them to miss the times that were the most special to me as I grew up simply because I was on my own. When the kids were three and five, I bought a small (and cheap) tent; three sleeping bags and we started the camping experiences together to build our own family memories. I have since added a husband who has shared many of these times with us.

Over the years, we have learned many lessons that made camping more enjoyable and much less tiring for me. I hope to share some of those with you over time. The first lesson I learned was never to tell the kids too soon that you're going to go camping on such and such weekend. Even saying, "We may go camping in two weeks." becomes a promise written in stone to kids. They don't care that you got called in to work or that the temperature dropped 30 degrees and it's supposed to rain. "But you promised!" will be the only words you hear until you either cave in or go crazy.

One year in particular, "You promised!" made me cave in on Memorial Day weekend. The weather prediction wasn't good but we had to go anyway. I hardly slept the entire night because I was freezing. I had already put on my sweat pants and shirt over my pj's, added a jacket and I still couldn't stop shivering. My husband, however, managed to snore the night away in his underwear and sleeping bag.

We woke up in the morning to frost on the ground. My son slept in for some reason and the cold didn't seem to faze him. The rest of us spent our time trying to warm up with hot chocolate and breakfast. It really didn't help. I finally decided my son was going to get up whether he liked it or not. Did I remember to tell you it was a cheap tent? It had leaked and Jon had been sleeping in a puddle.

He ended up with a fever of 102. That finally ended the frigid weekend. The only question he had after all of this was "When can we go again? It was fun." The cheap tent and thin sleeping bags have been replaced. We've progressed through a better tent and graduated up to a pop-up camper and decent sleeping bags and now we all sleep very well and wake up healthy. It doesn't seem to matter much because to this day, the camping stories start with "Remember when we went . . . ."

Just go.

Author Judy Brault
Judy Brault
I'm Judy Brault a.k.a. CampBear, wife, mother of two, grandmother of one, work full time and I guess, gulp, middle aged. My main objective when fishing and camping is catching some peace of mind. Getting away from the phone, computer, television and listening to and staring at the water helps me achieve that.