Monday, September 26, 2011

Church Family Camp pt 1

That wonderful word that evokes so many memories if you have been blessed to be able to attend.
Our church decided this last Spring that instead of the Women's Weekend Away they would do a Family Camp.
A good chunk of the families with young children signed up and attended and it was a wonderful weekend.
Luke, once again, had to work the weekend (I hate this part of his job), but encouraged me to go ahead and take the kids and go for the weekend.
I hemmed and hawed and balked, but deep down really wanted to be a part of it all.
I love the inter-generational aspect of our church.
It's a family.
So, I packed up the tent and all our bedding and extra clothes and drove the 2 hours to where the church had rented out a camp facility.
It rained nearly the whole weekend.
It rained and I had brought a tent where nearly everyone else had rented cabins.
It didn't just rain.
It monsooned with loud thunder and crazy sharp mountain lightening.
And I had arrived there after dark; in the rain with 4 kids and had to set up a tent.
I glared at my campsite.
I wanted to go home.
But a dear sweet friend (who was also husband less that night) greeted us and kindly shared her cabin for the night.
It was her and I and 11 KIDS!!
Holy Cow!
I was crazier than I thought!
It was so much fun (until you know, 11:30 when they were still all awake)!!!!
It was like being in High School all over again being a Camp Counselor to a cabin full of crazy hyper kids!
Only they ranged in ages 3-9!
I thought being a Camp Counselor was commendable and crazy.
I'll take my Lazy Lifeguard Chair and bask in the sun thank you very much.

But to watch these kids interact--my kids--my friend's kids, was so much fun and to see the excitement in their eyes at getting to sleep on multiple metal bunk beds with all their friends; it was priceless.

Mrs. Melody even made hot chocolate for whoever wanted.

A Memory Stamped into impressionable minds and made permanent.

I will admit that at 1am ish, 2am ish, 3am ish and so on, I was not so keen on sleeping with a bunch of little people when Nater Mater decided to wake up with leg cramps and all wheezing with his allergies and I had to keep him quiet.
My bed at home seemed pretty distant and oh-so-wanted.

The next morning arrived bright and early.
A little too early in my not-so-humble opinion.
But the kids were excited to explore the camp and see their surroundings.

I love Family Camp for the very name of it.
Another good friend of mine attended with 3 generations of her family and Mrs. Susan was great at explaining the Make Your Own Ice Cream directions to some very excited and very hyper and very distracted, wiggly little people.
Patience was the name of this game.

Patience and Waiting Your Turn.

But Ice Cream in Baggies in just under 10 minutes, was Fun and Fabulous.

I was so glad Luke had reminded to me to bring Mr. Smile's own milk and cheese along because even he got to make Ice Cream with Goat's Milk and it turned out great!

Most of the weekend it rained and rained...
....and rained.
And I'm talking heavy rain people.
Not quiet little sweet rain that you can go out and play in.
This was COLD and LOUD and had a lot of Sharp Lightning.

But the camp had a large gym that everyone could play in and the kids didn't seem to mind the wet and cold at all (until they got cold that is).

Grandparents attract all sorts of little people.

Much of the weekend was simply spent playing games and playing with kids and relaxing.

I have to admit I got a little whiny.
I missed Luke.
I didn't like being in a tent in the rain.
Fortunately, it cleared enough for me to lay my tarp on the sopping ground and set up my tent with the help of friends.
And I was blessed that Nater Mater was exhausted enough that he actually took a nap that afternoon and that it was just raining and not storming.
But, I wanted Luke to be there.
I began to sulk about being once again so busy with kids that I was missing out on much of any adult interaction.
I was feeling sorry for myself that my husband has a job that requires him to work nearly every weekend and he misses a lot of this stuff.
He hates it.
I hate it.
But as I lay there next to a snotty and sleeping toddler feeling sorry for myself that I didn't get to trade child watching time with anyone and I was by myself in a cold tent in the rain, a gentle reminder whispered into my ear, "You could be without him (Luke) altogether."
"You can take this opportunity of forced quiet and seclusion and be with Me."
"You can REST in Thankfulness in a New Day of Life."
And I knew.
I had far more to be Thankful for than to complain about.
I KNEW that this weekend
This Time
This Moment
was a GIFT
Memories were being made.
Relationships were being built
He (Jesus) was There in the tent with me.

That night, I tucked the kids into the sleeping bags and we listened to the gentle sound of the rain smattering on our tent cover.
I whisked away the moisture from around their mats and kissed them goodnight and layed there in the quiet remembering all my experiences as a child camping with my family.
They are some of the best memories I have growing up.

These are the memories my children are making and they may not be how I thought it should look but they are memories just the same
and they are to be treasure.

1 comment:

Wendy Thibault Kane said...

I love your blog posts! I would be sulking in my tent in the rain, too. I'm glad you experienced God's presence throughout it, though. THAT was a blessing!