My Side of the Story:
Before I let Virginia have the floor in this post, I want to put my two cents in. Virginia (known by most as “Gin”) is my oldest. She has seen me through thick and thin. She has rocked babies and changed diapers since she was knee-high to a grasshopper! She now has a brood of her own….and what a brood! Rocking babies and changing diapers is where it’s at!
Gin has seven children, the oldest is nine….I think. Excuse my ignorance but I blinked a couple of times and now have twenty-one grandchildren! So I have a right to some ignorance.
Virginia has a little baby, her name is Juliette Leanne….she is around 4 or 5 months old. Gin has many sleepless nights lately and although she fools the world with her easy-to-come-by loveliness, I see the tired eyes beneath it all. She tells me she doesn’t dare sit down or she will melt into the chair. She has given up on sleep, she is resigned, actually I think she even embraces it….truly.
So this is why, when she called me a couple of weeks ago and said that she and her hubby were taking the kids camping for the night, I thought she was crazy! Why on earth would one want to inflict more pain on oneself! Camping means one thing to me…..No sleep!
Sigh…such is life. Once a mother, always a mother. When they have flown the nest, I can upbraid and express my utmost concern….but in the end I shake my head and throw up my hands……
Then I remember….oh, yes, that’s right. I was young once, too!
Gin’s Side of the Story:
On Mom’s site here, my sister, Theresa, related a sweet experience about picking blackberries and creating memories with her children. It has inspired me to write about our time camping a few days ago and making memories of our own……….
My husband,Vincent, is self-employed and works from sun-up to sun-down most of the year. Our boys are blessed to be able to be working beside him a good part of the time and for that I am truly grateful!
As of right now he is putting a pretty major addition on the side of our house. Things can get really crazy around here…mud, holes in the ground, hammers, saws, noise and the like!
So we decide it’s time to do something relaxing…..well sort of…..
We are going camping!
We did this last year a couple of times. I am now somewhat prepared for the hard bed, children covered in marshmallows and ketchup and the general lack of comfort.
My hubby never does things halfway. He spends time preparing our tents, getting the gas lights ready that hang from the tree, packing lovely food and drinks, rounding up things for the cooking fire/campfire and last, but not least, he reminds me to bring “Farmer Boy” to read to the kids.
It’s a fun and relaxing time for us – it’s so nice to just sit and have good conversation while the kiddos run around, throw knives, fish and inspect everything.
My brother and sister-in-law live on a beautiful piece of property, untouched by the crazy world. One feels so close to God there.
They have a camping spot that couldn’t be more ideal…..Sparkling pond that is full of fish, beautiful Blue Spruce making tall guardians for the picturesque clearing where we set up our tents.
Hubby is a great cook and before long he has succulent hamburgers and hotdogs with all the fix-ens for us.
My highlight is everyone listening to “Farmer Boy”, even Daddy, while making s’mores. So peaceful………….
The peacefulness is interrupted!
Little voices start demanding more marshmallows, “Mommy, look at this fish!” as they hold it three inches from my nose, or fighting ensues over who gets to sit by who.
It’s funny how as soon as the sun is setting our kiddos (who are never tired and can stay up until all hours of the night…every night) are yawning and hinting how tired they are.
They love the novelty of sleeping in a tent! Problem is…..they don’t sleep!
Literally, three hours later I have to threaten punishments with four little boys talking, laughing and wrestling in their small tent.
Finally, an exhausted Mommy can begin to contemplate sleeping with what seems like a hundred rocks under my bed!
Daddy is dozing beside me and three little ones scattered in our tent are shifting in their sleep….a foot in my face here and an elbow in my ribs here!
Both of us knew it before we started….we would give up a night’s sleep. Hubby had said to me before we decided to do this, “We don’t sleep anyway, Honey, so we might as well go camping!”
I know the day’s chores and work will be resumed, sleep-deprived or not, yet waking up to seven smiling faces and Daddy frying up bacon and eggs is so rewarding!
My heart is full even if I look like I’ve been run over by a truck! Kids don’t notice things like that, they just remember the good times and how much Mom and Dad enjoyed being with them!
I ask myself….is it worth the hassle, stress or being out of your comfort zone to create these memories with your children? Absolutely!
(Just give me a few days to recover!)
“The parent who loves his children and takes pleasure in training them in right conduct gives the best possible testimonial to marriage. On the other hand, the parent who constantly complains about his physical, financial or emotional burdens breaks down his youngster’s vision of marriage as a worthy state in life.” – Rev. George A. Kelly
Both sides are very neat……I got to go camping once and didn’t know I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time! 😉 It took almost all morning before I could walk my hips were hurting so much, but again didn’t know baby was taking my energy. 😛
I think all moms can see the tired eyes, but they don’t take away from the happiness. 🙂
And the pictures did not show the big girls, Virginia and Gemma…..did they really go on the trip? 😉
Very fun story, very beautiful property!
Added a couple of girl pictures for you, Mary! 🙂
Thank you for sharing about your camping trip, Mary! My little camping trip after the children came along was quite an adventure, too…one that we had to recover from! 😛
Fr Angelo said:
If my students ever ask me what Joy is, I think I shall send them here to this post. Fruit of the Holy Spirit is bountiful in posts like these- they provide a wonderful window into the treasures of true Catholic life.
Thank you, Donal! 🙂
Traditional Feminist said:
I camped when we first married. After we had a few experiences with the smaller children and I experienced firsthand the “man losing his temper”, I told him we would never camp as a couple again, unless it was with another family. I have kept to that. He camps a lot with the children by himself, but not with me. I will attend one camping trip a year — the trip with the entire homeschool group — but once a year only, and only under the circumstances in which we are with the other families.
I will never subject myself to the loss of temper and the vocabulary that accompanies it. Additionally, it is a huge amount of extra work without any help cleaning up….I was admonished a number of times to be cheerful and clean up uncomplainingly, which I did until I finally realized what was really happening. A correct apology never came, and I did inform him that until a correct apology for his temper loss was given, no more camping as a couple without other adults present.
I don’t know your situation, Traditional Feminist, and so I have no right to judge your intentions. But I can tell you that not everything is ideal in our own little worlds. I think I can safely say we have all felt sorry for ourselves, left out, trodden upon, forgotten and that people (husbands, children, etc.) treated us unfairly….. But we at Finer Femininity are here to learn Forgiveness, Graciousness, Vulnerability, Tenderness,etc. It is the mission here because we all go through these things and want to deal with them properly. There isn’t much virtue in shutting down….or just to be willing to forgive someone only when they change. Our Lord has given us the example….seventy times seven He says to forgive one another. Is this easy? Not at all! But we need to continue to do it because He gave us the example…all the way to the Cross….
Traditional Feminist said:
I understand what you’re saying, but I could no longer run on empty. I have been drained to the point of utter dryness, and when you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff and someone stomps on your fingers, you have to manage to survive. I don’t camp because I cannot do it anymore…..a pitcher of water is not bottomless and I ran out years and years ago. One forgives, but it is unwise to forget and go right back for more to the point that you end up sick and dragging. Finally it came down to just making it, one day at a time, and putting up the walls and distance. It would be highly imprudent for me to put myself in the situation in which we are the only adults, and I wouldn’t do it anymore — it is too dangerous. Trust me on this. I got similar admonitions from many mentors, and realized at last that I was in a no-win situation.
I ask myself….is it worth the hassle, stress
No. It most definitely is not.