We went away for a couple-night camping trip with the kids last summer, and since they did pretty well with that, we figured we'd shoot for a little longer this year. So we booked 4 nights, and after list-making and shopping and planning and packing, we loaded all our stuff in the truck and headed north.
The kids were excited, to say the least.
Before we left, as we were loading up pillows and blankets and food and some toys, the kids were all "Are we leaving now?" "Are we leaving NOW?" "How soon are we leaving?" "How many minutes?"
At last, we were all buckled in, and either Bill or I – in our geeky parent way – announced "We're on vacation!" (in a kind of "Wagons, Ho!" sort of way.)
And a rousing cheer erupted from the back seat.
And then for the next four hours we heard a lot of this:
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we almost there?"
"When are we gonna be there?"
"How many more minutes?"
Four hours, people.
But finally we arrived. After racing to the bathrooms, we settled in with the setting up.
Up went the tent, up went the sort of 4-legged awning thing that we put over the picnic table (with a tarp over the awning) to keep the rain off (HAHAHAHAHAHA – OH HOW NAIVE WE WERE – but that comes later.) and Bill put the kids to work gathering twigs and branches for the fire pit.
We had hot dogs for dinner, and once the last bit of ketchup-soaked bun was gone, the kids were at it again.
"Can we cook the marshmallows now?"
"Can we make s'mores?"
"Now can we?"
"Is it dark enough yet?"
(Bill had some sort of rule this year that it had to be a certain level of dark before the kids could put marshmallows on their sticks. I don't know why, other than the fun of torturing his children.)
At last, there were the requisite number of stars visible in the sky, and Bill allowed the s'more making to begin.
8 pounds of sugar later, the kids went to bed.
Bill and I hung out watching the fire a bit longer, and then he put the fire out and I packed the food away (in the truck, so no critters could get at it), and we headed to bed, too.
A little later…
"Can you hear that?" he whispered.
I could hear a strange, strangled, growly sound that lasted a second or two at a time.
After a couple rounds of this, I realized it was someone out there in another tent…snoring.
"I thought it was a bear," he said.