Camping is something that think I will do again....willingly! The last time the girls and I had a bonding experience like this was 18 months ago when we drove to Chicago. And to think this adventure almost did not happen because I was afraid. Afraid of my fears of mosquitoes, spiders and tics. Afraid that I would not be able to feed my family. Afraid that my girls would wake up in the middle of the night and want to go home. Afraid that I had no supplies. Just plain’ol afraid.
Laughter chases away fear.
Joy chases away fear.
Sharing chases away fear.
Beauty chases away fear.
Unfortunately fear snuck back in at 12:15 when the wind whipped the camp site into a frenzy. Thankfully there was no storm, just strong gusty wind. Wind that tipped over the screen house and knocked over bicycles. Wind that sucked in the walls of the tent and pushed them back out again. Wind that cast scary shadows and made owl’s hoots sound eerie. My first thought was that if the wind woke up my girls they would want/need to go home. My second thought was at that moment, I wanted to go home. I wanted my safe house, my husband, my dogs, my bed. I wanted to feel safe and protected.
The girls did not wake up and I had to find a way to push my fears aside and work through my anxiety. I turned to what always helps me, prayer. I pray like Buddhists chant. Over and over and over until I am chanting the words to Hail Mary and I can feel the calm return. It took hours but it finally happened and sleep came again for a few blessed hours until the crows began their 5:30 wake up call and the children stirred in their sleep.
We stepped outside to a new day. Fresh cool crisp air. Sunshine. Blue skies. We I made it through the night! I pushed the fear aside. I found my peace. I learned that I am strong and capable and do not need to let fear limit my experiences. This was the perfect place to camp for the first time, surrounded by beauty and friends. What I learned about myself could not have come from a book, or a workshop, or a lecture. It came from living. What my girls learned may shape their opinions of camping forever. They thanked me profusely for taking them and changing my mind and agreeing to try. They helped me with the set up, the clean up and the putting away. They treated each other and their friends with respect and kindness. They lived and loved and laughed. There was no need for a plaque to remind us of these simple things. We figured it out all on our own.