Steve’s relationship with camping is tolerable at best, and I would put myself in the same category. We went camping a few times while living in Wisconsin and we had the best time – it’s all about the company you keep while camping. But setting up the tent, getting the food ready, keeping kids from falling in the fire, the dirt, sleepless nights – not really our cup of tea and it’s not a “hobby” we see ourselves enjoying as a family.
Steve finds himself camping at least once a year for the Father/Son campout. They have a great time and it satisfies his appetite for camping for at least a year until the next Father/Son campout rolls around. Hunter comes home with the best stories of gorging himself on smores, mud puddles and super late nights. You can imagine the jealousy that starts to pour out of Hallie’s face, “It’s not fair that Hunter always gets to do the fun things, I never get to go camping with dad.” It really is such a sad story and I really do feel for her. I probably had the same exact complaint when I saw my dad walk out the door to do amazingly fun things with my brothers.
A couple months back (just a month before Cannon was born) they announced at church that they were going to have a father/daughter campout. Hallie looked at me filled with excitement and then made eye contact with Steve on the stand to show him just how excited she was. There was one small problem…the campout was four days before our due date and Steve insisted they skip this year and go next year instead, but Hallie had her mind made up and she was not letting Steve off the hook that easy, baby or no baby, she was going to go and I agreed.
One evening while driving we prepped her with the possibility that we might have a baby that exact day and if that was the case Steve would not be able to go. Tears quietly rolled down her cheeks and she sat in silence. We assured her we would do everything possible to make sure she got to go and then the prayers started to come. Pleadings.
One of our neighbors (with a daughter Hallie’s age) invited Steve and Hallie to stay in their motorhome with them just in case Steve had to come back in the middle of the trip – he wouldn’t have any gear to pack up. Steve’s attitude of toleration for “camping” finally turned to excitement.
After experiencing a lot of contractions the week before the camping trip, Steve was reluctant and Hallie was devastated. The night before, we said a special prayer with Hallie to know whether they should go or not (the location was far enough away that Steve could easily miss the birth if I went into labor) and wouldn’t you know, the next morning each one of us felt good about them going. So they went – and Hallie couldn’t stop talking about how great it was. I was beyond grateful she was able to go.
Steve claims he went “camping” – I joke with him, it’s hardly camping when you stay in a heated RV with a 40″ flat screen – not only that, they didn’t even cook dinner! They went to the nearest town for fast food!
Hallie had built up this trip in her mind for several years (all the years Hunter got to go) and it truly lived up to her expectations. I think part of the fun for her was having her dad all to her self. And because I wasn’t there to mandate photos – Steve took very few and didn’t end up in any of them!