Camping

8 minute memoir - things you hope to do this summer
topics from @anndeecandy

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This summer I will not be pregnant, and I will not be nursing a baby.

That, my friends, is a game changer.

I have six children. I've had seven pregnancies. Let's do a little math.

10 months (I promise... it's 10, not 9) X 6 children plus 5 months = 65 months of pregnancy.
10 months (I don't nurse much beyond that) X 6 = 60 months of nursing.

65 + 60 = 125 months / 12 = 10.416 years of pregnancy/nursing out of the last 13 years of my life.

Let's look at that again:

10.416 years out of the last 13 years of my life I have been pregnant or nursing.

Can we get an alarmed, high-pitched, hysterical giggle? Oh, my goodness, that is soooooo funny. I cannot describe my amusement at seeing those numbers.

And in that time I have moved five times, put a husband through a PhD program in Accounting, owned a small business, written six books, and published one. Pretty dang good, if you ask me (and if you know what happens to your brain/energy level while being pregnant/nursing).

But with all of that.... I have not been CAMPING nearly as much as I would have wanted to... and that, my friends is what I plan to remedy this summer. Oh, how I have missed the outdoors! It's just so hard to camp when delivering babies, I tell you what.

We did manage to get on one campout each summer, despite six tiny infants. We did go see the Native American's mounds in Iowa. But that is it. No more. And that is traumatizing.

When I was little we went backpacking every summer either down in Southern Utah or up in the High Uintahs. Or both. It was glorious. For my cousin's senior trip my wonderful older sister took my cousin and me on a 15 day trip up the West Coast, camping at every opportunity. Camping and backpacking makes my heart sing. (As long as I don't think about all the work that it entails as a mother... we'll skip that for now.)

I remember distinctly one particular campout we did manage as a family in Iowa. It was freezing. We'd managed to get everyone bathroomed and in his or her sleeping bag. The baby was in my bag and we were both wearing hats. I was so giddy with happiness that my husband looked at me and said: this is your happy place. And I was cold. And I hate, hate, hate being cold. It was that good to be camping.

Camping is so important to me that last year when my husband was STILL writing his dissertation and couldn't come with us on our planned campout to Yellowstone, AND it was raining cats and dogs, I gathered up my six children and drove into a freaking thunderstorm so I could put up a tent and insist I would not give up. I even wrote a poem about that one that I'll include below.

So this year.... we are going camping/hiking at every opportunity. Already we've been to Bryce and Zion National Parks. We have reservations at two different Idaho Lakes this summer (Henry and Cleveland). We're heading to Mesa Verde over Memorial Day, and plan to stop at Arches on the way home. And I'm trying to finagle another Yellowstone trip as well as a visit to Craters of the Moon. Give me a weekend, any weekend, and I will run away!!

Not only do I love getting away from the work of hearth and home, not only do I love forgetting technology and going on long walks, not only do I love the beauty and grandeur of the great outdoors, not only is it awesome for my kids to stop fighting for a few hours and see amazing sights, I also feel a communion with my Heavenly Father, and especially my Heavenly Mother, when I get into the wide outdoors. It's certainly called Mother Earth for a reason.

And so, my number one goal of summer this year:

Camping!

That's where I'll be.





WHY DON'T YOU

The rain still falls.
You'd prayed for it to stop,
wished for it to stop,
squeezed all your hope together
on the off chance
it might stop.

But it rains anyway.

And the poles must go up,
the fly must go over,
the bags must be placed inside
to keep the many bodies warm
which you've dragged on this excursion
which they barely understand.

click, click
go the clasps

smack, smack 
goes the mallet

And the rain still falls down.

But at the end of it,
standing there
with muddy hands,
wet pants and boots,
a coat whose down is failing to stay dry,
the tent stands up.

As you made it do.

Inside that tent,
other than a few unwieldy drips,
 you've managed 
to make 
the rain stop.

Having to answer your own pleas
with the determined insistence
that you would not desist,
you would not give up,
no matter how brokenly you wished you could lie down
and cry
that none of it is fair.

The rain would not stop.

So make it stop,
why don't you?



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