Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Camping Season Opener Over Mother's Day Weekend

"Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it still brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop their own individuality, especially while you struggle to keep your own."
-Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

One afternoon Ashton came crashing through the front door after school, paper bag in hand, and declared, "I have a present for you. But you can't open it now. It's for Mother's Day. Ok, you can  open it now if you want." It was a homemade hand scrub.

And a few days later Spencer came home beaming just as excitedly, handing me a gift wrapped in paper colored by him. "Open it slowly so you don't rip the paper," he instructed me. He was just as proud of the picture on the wrapping paper as he was the gift it hid. In his messy handwriting, the gift was addressed to: Angy. Inside was a book filled with laminated pages of his own personal illustrations, beginning with a baby photo and ending with an enlarged school photo, which happens to be my favorite school photo to date--big cheesy, awkward grin that screams RETAKE, but never in a million years would I ever replace that gem. As I flipped through the pages and came to the final one, I teared up a bit, and Spencer said, "I knew you'd cry happy tears."

But how can you not? These homemade gifts are my love language. And I feel so very blessed to receive them year after year. Dave tried to throw one away once. A bouquet of fake flowers glued into a small flower pot, gifted from Ashton last year, his first ever school gift to me. It sits perched in the windowsill above the kitchen sink. And that's where it'll stay from now until eternity. Because I can still see his face when he gave it to me, so proud and excited. These gifts are one of the many perks of motherhood.

And how did we celebrate this year? By kicking off our camping season! We went to our favorite local campground for our first time out, and the weather cooperated beautifully. The warm and sunny temps brought all the campers out for the weekend and the campground was buzzing with activity. The boys made fast friends and were mostly off playing at the playground without us. Jillian tried to follow suit and was quite upset when she was held back at the campsite with her boring parents or escorted by us instead.

We're not much for sitting at the campsite when we camp, so we drove to the nearby state park to go on a hike. I strapped Jillian on my back and we climbed about a million steps before reaching the top and deciding we probably shouldn't continue on the more rugged path, so back down those steps we went. Once we reached the bottom, I freed Jillian and the kids enjoyed splashing in the water on the beach.

Our season opener this year was one of our better ones, and now we're ready to get back out there. With mere days left of the school year, we are anxiously anticipating all things summer, with more camping high on the list. Oh so very soon we will be enjoying the long, lazy, gloriously boring days of summer.


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