Because all my vacation memories as a child involve a tent, canoe, or Taurus station wagon, camping and nature are high priorities for me as an adult. In what is now the lil' dude's third summer, we have camped three years in a row, but this year was the first time alone as a family.
We bought a brand-new tent for this adventure, a big improvement on the square four-man tent we've used in the past because Mama + lil' dude in the middle, sleeping at an angle + Daddy + Beagle at the bottom, sleeping at an angle = bad camping math, in my opinion! Besides, I told the Dad, the purchase was warranted because every child loves playing in the tent the most, I wanted her to have the room she needed to create the space of her imagination.
We could have done without the raging thunderstorm Saturday night, which held the threat of flash floods, tornadoes, giant hail, 60mph winds, and overall treachery ... but that's part of the memory, anyways. As we huddled with various other campers in the dark, powerless men's bathroom, the lil' dude plastered to my chest, wrapped in NaNa and sleeping soundly ... I really, really felt like a Mom. It's like saying you'd run through fire for your child; well, I sat on a toilet in the dark, in the men's bathroom of a public campground ... for my child. You get the picture. The little girl's bravery and curiosity never wavered once she woke up, and she won the hearts of everyone around her, per usual.
When we figured the worst was beyond us, we ventured back to our tent, still intact, my nerves calming down. As we readied our girl for bed once again, she inquired about her plastic bugs, toys she thought she left in the rain. Where are my bugs? Are they OK? was all she wanted to know before we shut off the lantern. While I assured her they were tucked away safely in the truck, she had one more message before sleep:
Mama, don't be afraid of the rain.
I won't baby girl, I'll never be afraid of the rain again.