Three years ago one of the mothers of my daughter's friends, proposed a camping trip. It would be her daughter's birthday party. The other 2 mothers were enthusiastic about camping and had camped quite a bit. So all three assured me they would take care of me, and I would have a blast. I insisted on having an aerobed, which one mom provided. My daughter and I had had a pretty rough year in our relationship, so I was unsure how much she would want me along. She insisted that she wanted to come, so I went.
It was a bit rough. But overall not bad. I didn't sleep at all the first night, Nature is LOUD!!! But after that I took drugs and slept like a baby! The weather was great, the scenery beautiful! The best part for me was watching my daughter interact with these 4 other girls whom she had grown up with but had just become close to two years before. I got a glimpse of my daughter's life that I often did not get to see. She was more loving that weekend than ever before. I cherish those memories.
The next year we went again! We go to the same place, the Toe River in the mountains of North Carolina. This time we went earlier in the week and spent a few days in Asheville. This was nice for those of us who preferred hotel camping and shopping. Then we trekked out to the wilderness for the nature camping part. Again it was a fantastic trip! It is a lot of work to camp, but worth it to be a part of the girls' discussions. I loved listening to them talk about their dreams and plans for their lives. I enjoyed watching the interactions between daughters and mothers. My daughter and I bond each year on this trip over how much we hate "roughing it"!!! Last year we rented tubes and the girls went tubing and then the moms. It was a blast.
So this year, we made the trek again. But this year held a new experience. RAIN!!! Luckily it only lasted a few hours on the first day and the tents stayed dry! I was scared for a bit during the storm, it is quite loud when you are in a tent! But the rest of the trip went without a hitch. This year it was fun to see how the girls had grown and changed. It was interesting to see how the relationships between mothers and daughters was different. And it was nice to see how strong my relationship with my daughter is now.
Anniversaries, birthdays, New Year's, these are all events that make us pause and take a look at where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. This mother/daughter camping trip has become one of these events for me. I spend time thinking about my relationship with my daughter. Marveling at how wonderful she is, how much she has grown, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. I get to eavesdrop on the conversations she has with her friends. I am amazed at their wit, their humor, their maturity. I always come away in awe of these five beautiful young women. I also like to dream a little about where they will be in five years, ten years, fifteen years. The girls like to make predictions. One year everyone agreed who would be the first to be kissed, have a boyfriend, get married and have kids. Well, we were all wrong! The first to have a boyfriend was not who we thought, in fact, we all thought (including her) that she would be the last!!!
What markers do you have in your life that make you stop and reflect and dream? Maybe you need to find a new one. Just check the weather forecast if your new marker includes being in a tent outdoors!!!