-Ralph D. Paine
Oftentimes I'm guilty of rushing through our days, watching the clock tick by, measuring the importance of the task at hand by the length of the list. Then one day I look at the calendar simply amazed another month has passed, season come and gone, my babies have outgrown their clothes, but only a hazy memory remains of how we got to this point. But it's as if time almost stands still when we camp. The lists are forgotten, the hustle and bustle of our schedules abandoned. We just exist in that moment. It's not always picture perfect. Our temperaments tag along for the ride. Brothers squabble. Spouses disagree. Parents and children butt heads. Families get lost. Bugs swarm and bite. Drinks spill. We exist in the moments, both good and bad, away from our bustling every day lives.
Memorial Day weekend marked our first camping trip of the season. We loaded up and headed to Madison, Wisconsin. In good old Mahlke family fashion, we got lost. No worries, though, with only a little bickering and a handful of roundabouts, we finally found the campground, set up camp and settled in for a sticky, dirt-filled weekend of family fun.
BBQ (where big brother taught little brother the fine art of cutting), family volleyball (complete with tears and tantrums), sparklers (with protective gear from the rogue sparks, of course), s'mores (oh the stickiness!), baths (dirty, dirty boys) and night-time bunk shenanigans completed our first night.
Saturday was filled with excursions away from the campground. We discovered a very fancy Target that entertained us immensely (an escalator for the shopping carts!), and we picked up a few forgotten essentials before heading to the zoo on one of the muggiest days of the season. (The one minute kiddie train ride is most definitely not worth the 30-plus minute wait in the sweltering sun.) We cooled down afterwards at our very first splash pad, which was a huge hit until a kid skidded across the slippery surface and skinned his knee.
After getting a taste of the camping fever, we are ready to get back out there again in a few weeks, to stop time and exist entirely in the moment.
|21 week baby bump.|