Ever since I was young I have loved camping. I grew up in a small town on a 5-acre farm (surrounded by thousands of acres of fields). My brother was a camping and fishing nut and I loved tagging along. My brother was a hardcore camper and would always take care of all of the hard stuff while I usually just tagged along. We would camp in the grove on our farm, along the riverbanks 5 miles from our house, local lakes and anywhere else we could. Our little camping trips (that sometimes included my sister) would start out with us being best friends and usually finish with strangling of some kind. But this is how my brother and I got along and we would go back to doing the same thing the next day on repeat.
As I have grown I have kept my love for camping. I got my wife interested when I first met her and we were able to do a few camping trips with our two oldest kids while dating (my wife had 2 kids when I met her). Since our marriage we have done boundary waters trips, black hills and endless local places. Each trip has been amazing and all of our kids have loved it.
Some things have changed in the past year though. First, we added our 5th child (Isaiah), our oldest boy turned into a teenager (I think another one bit him, like zombies), our oldest girl started having raging mood swings and our two other girls (3 & 6) are hyper active sweethearts. It is amazing how the dynamic of a home can change over the course of a year.
Lately, our 13 and 11 year olds favorite activities are to fight and bicker with one another. They can drive everyone in the house absolutely insane. When I approach friends with older kids they usually give me the same advice, run and hide! Seriously though, I wonder if they can tolerate each other this year on our camping trips and in turn if the rest of us can tolerate them. They used to be best friends and still show glimpses, so I have hope.
The other issue I worry about camping this year is our three little ones. Can we possibly keep track of them, keep them entertained and still enjoy ourselves. Actually that is a question I ask myself every day in our home. Somehow, everything seems to manage (except for me and Kelly getting a real nights sleep).
While yes, I do expect times where my two oldest will act like brats and not be able to tolerate the sight of each other and my youngest will drive us to exhaustion, that is what our life is these days and we still love it. So yes, I fully expect to go mad, but I am pretty sure that happened a long time ago.
Every day with these kids is a blessing from God and I wouldn’t have it any other way.