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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Camping + college kids + motorcycle gang + rain...Priceless!!

In my dad's book, Keys to Your Child's Heart he celebrates making family memories. An inspiring how-to for parents to create amazing moments and strong bonds as a family unit. He can take no credit for our closeness. It's a gift. It was years of messing up, I think that did it. My favorite stories of "messing up" are now the fun topics of our family get-togethers. My brothers & I tease and poke fun and embellish and make fun (in love) of ALL the attempts dad made to bond us closer. The camping stories are my very favorite. In fact, the parenting book was written on a two month camping trip. It was weeks of torture jammed in a camper zipping from state park to state park. I honestly don't know how they did did my mom keep her sanity? There were bumps and crisis and bruises and adventures and laughs at every turn. My dad insists that camping will make any family close. He would bet his camper on it:)

Roger and I were soooooo excited the first time we took Awesome M camping. He was 1 and full of life. We wanted to start him out young and start the bonding right off the bat. I remember like it was yesterday packing the car with all the camping goods and our brand new Coleman tent. We thought of everything. We interviewed several avid campers and decided on the perfect spot for our 1st trip. The drive was long and winding. I remember feeling car sick, but my joy of camping held me over thru the 4 hr. drive to camping paradise.

It was beautiful. The best spot. We set up our camp site in a flash. We had a few tumbles trying to figure out how to balance out the tent, despite the slight lean...we did it!! I headed to the "potty" but stopped short. The not-so-clean, super nasty toilet was crawling with bugs. Dear Lord it was disgusting!! Refusing to *go* there...I insisted Rog drive us to the nearest clean restroom. There was noooo near clean spot. Where was the gas station? Where was the park restrooms with showers? I realized quickly I would really have to rough it up!! 100% nature calling in the wild outdoors.
The night was long and everything went wrong. It started raining. A motorcycle pack rolled in and set up camp right next to our tent. A college group catty corner partied all night. It was cold and wet and loud and miserable. I begged Rog to go out there and tell the college kids and motorcycle gang to BE QUIET!! We have a baby trying to sleep in here!!! Long story short, we packed up our brand new tent and all our camping goods in the dark and headed for home. We were mad and really sleepy. I felt like a total failure. What happened? I was a camping pro. Our family bonding depended on this camping trip to be a success.

We learned a lesson. Our
un-camping trip WAS a success. We bonded. We had our memories. We could laugh at the messes. Maybe we weren't cut out to be campers, but we were cut out to be a family. A family that loves being together. We never popped that tent up again, but we did invest years later in a pop up camper. We are now the Gibson 5 and I cherish our
memory-making-messes deeper than ever. I guess the moral of this can bond pretty much doing anything as a family. Trouble will find you where ever you go:)
Make every memory count!!

Ooops....I forgot to ask. Bloggy friends, I'd really love to hear your favorite memory-making-messes.


  1. Kari forgot to add the part about the motorcycle pack being Harley Davidson guys and the college group being surrounded by a cloud of "weed" smoke. At 2 AM she wanted me to go out and tell them to be quiet ... I said let's go home.
    Your Camping Buddy

  2. Ha!! I have heard some of your dad's camping stories - I'm surprised you even bought a tent (:
    It's funny how some of our most frustrating times become our favorite memories...
    Love you! and your stories (:

  3. Didn't we go "camping" with your Parents in that camper all the way to Rocky Point?! We camped on the beach and got sunburns like lobsters! I have the pics to prove it...and the memories to laugh about.

    Love ya,


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