You don’t have to leave your yard to take a mini vacation. My 13 year old son Graeme and I discovered that when we decided to take a “break” from it all and do some backyard camping. Not only was it economical, and easy (it was in the backyard, for heavens sake) but it was some of the best quality time that he and I have shared together in quite some time.
It’s often hard nowadays to distract your teens away from their electronics. My son, especially, spends a significant amount of time on the new XBox One he got for his birthday this summer. I can’t blame him, as it seems like most of his peers are doing the same thing.
Our family is quite active and we enjoy spending time outdoors hiking and camping. Recently, my husband suffered a slight fracture in his left knee, which significantly impacted our plans for the remainder of the summer. Graeme also got for his birthday a new Skeeter Beeter Pro Hammock by Grand Trunk, and was quite eager to use it.
So I checked the weather forecast, and determined that we were in for a stretch of bright, sunny weather and could plan on safely sleeping outdoors for two nights without any chances of rain. Graeme and I happily gathered some simple camping gear from the basement and headed outdoors to set it up.
We put together the two man tent that I was going to be sleeping in for the night, and I went to gather my sleeping mat, bag, and pillow. I left Graeme to put up his sleeping hammock. A few minutes later I heard him yell, “Hey, mom, can you come out here for a minute and give me a hand?” There was no urgency in his voice, so a few minutes later I meandered out. Here’s what I saw…….
We both burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter. The hammock had flipped around and Graeme was “trapped” and couldn’t get out on his own, as it was just deep enough for him to not be able to regain his balance. This was a priceless moment shared with my son that I will not soon forget.
Once the debacle of the hammock was rectified, and Graeme was back on solid ground, we set up a small fire pit, using the bottom of our barbecue smoker. It’s always fun to improvise and you usually find the stuff you need right in your own backyard or garden shed. I gathered some wood from around the yard and Graeme went into the surrounding woods to cut down a few sticks to be used later that night for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores.
As the darkness grew, Graeme and I started the fire and settled down in our camp chairs. My husband and daughter were relaxing inside the house, to give Graeme and I some valuable mother and son time. We roasted our treats over the fire and indulged in more s’mores than we should have. The fire lit up the darkened backyard and we savored the sound of the loons calling from the pond below us.
The night wasn’t complete, however, until my son searched for songs on YouTube, mainly “Hey Jude” by the Beatles and “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s. He knew the words to the Beatles song better than I did. I sat there in the darkness letting him take the lead, listening to his sweet voice and feeling really blessed to have such quality one on one time with my youngest child.
The night wound down, and we each retired to our sleeping quarters. The moon was nearly full and the stars were bright. I lay in the darkness, hoping that he enjoyed himself half as much as I did. As I mentioned before, these moments in our lives with our children are fleeting, and it’s important to capture the time with them as best we can.
Honestly, this was one of my best “vacations” ever, and I did it all from the comfort of home, and entirely for free. His smile says it all.