Steve and I just returned from what is likely to be our last “foray” as just the 2 of us. A 4 day camping trip (forced relaxation) at McGregor Point Provincial Park, about 30 minutes north of Kincardine. We even left the dog with “Uncle Darren” just so we could have some toddler free relaxation time.
Camping is something I have always enjoyed, and something that Steve has apparently loathed for many of his adult years. I convinced him to go with visions of manly pursuits (cooking over an open fire), lazy days (reading in a hammock for hours on end), sunsets on the beach, and other adventures maybe not fit to mention in a family forum. The entire trip was most enjoyable.
Living in close proximity to other families for a few days, with nothing to separate you from them but a few trees is an interesting experiment. You can learn a lot about people from their ways of living, and camping. What I was fascinated by the most is the differences in the way people treat their children. The family to the rear of us was a couple with a boatload of kids, 4 I think, ranging in age from 7 to baby. Loud Voice Family spent a lot of time hollering at the kids and fighting about various things, there was a lot of crying. Screamy McYelly Family moved in on the other side on our last day there. 3 couples with a whole mess of kids, that got plugged into a laptop or something to watch a movie while the parents sat around the campfire and got drunk, and screamed at the kids to shut up, and screamed at eachother to do this and do that and where the heck is the this, and what the hell did you do with that, and children crying I want this, and do that and so on. And then Sweet little Blond Family replaced Loud Voice Family on the last day. 4 kids that we never heard a peep out of. Not one. Steve even watched the little boy tumble off the picnic table – not a sound out of him – Mom and Dad just went and picked him up (because they were paying attention to him and saw him fall) and brushed him off and off he went on his merry way. I watched one of the little girls entertain herself for a goodly amount of time talking to an oven mitt (like a puppet, not like a deranged 5 year old!) They sat around the campfire and sang songs at night with some other families that they were there with. No laptops. No Yelly McScreamy. Imaginations and good ol fashioned family fun.
I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want our family to be. I know that you only have control of so much. Sometimes you can do the best you can do and raise your kids the best way you know how, and your children will still turn out to be hellions. That’s what scares me.