Thankful for Family Memories – Camping
This past weekend was bittersweet for my family and me. After a few weeks of praying and family meetings, we decided to sell our camper and give up our amazing spot at a beautiful campground.
The memories of all the fun we had while camping came flooding back to me, along with a few tears.
Five years ago, Craig came up with the idea to invest in a camper. We researched the hundreds of different options and picked the perfect little camper for us. Our first adventure was Mother’s Day Weekend, and the weather was miserable! We made the best of it by watching movies and playing games.
Our First Camper – Mother’s Day Weekend (2013)
The boys playing chess – Mother’s Day Weekend (2013)
Bailey loved being at the camper!
Confined in such a small area, I may have lost my patience a time or two during that inaugural weekend. In fact, I may have said something along the lines of, “This isn’t going to work, let’s just get rid of the camper!” I am so glad that we didn’t!
Our next outing was Memorial Day weekend, and it rained the majority of the time. We filled our time with reading and playing in the mud puddles.
Our little reader.
Our little adventurer
The highlight of that weekend was a visit from my dad.
Our other adventures included traveling to Indiana Beach on a few occasions and having the swimming pool all to ourselves.
We also traveled down to southern Illinois for a photography school that I was attending. A few days before the school began, several inches of rain fell in the area, and significant flooding occurred. Instead of taking the usual highway roads to get to the state park, we had to take the backroads. That entailed hills and valleys and no cell phone signal. As we were making the last incline down to the campground, we all smelled something burning.
My sweet husband then looked at me with distress in his eyes. It was the brakes on our Yukon. Craig had the brake pedal to the floor in the hopes of slowing down, but they were not working. In fact, the opposite was happening, and we were accelerating at high speed. Due to the weight of the camper, it was impossible to slow down. Between the look on my husband’s face and the rate that we were going, I knew that it was time to pray for safety! We blew through two stop signs and finally came to a stop, just a few feet from the high waters that covered the state road that we were initially supposed to enter the campground on. Naturally, the boys thought it was fun. Craig and I did not!
We ended that inaugural camping season with a trip to the Double J Campground, which is a little over an hour away from our home. This family-friendly, pet-friendly campground had it all; a pool, basketball courts, playground, shuffleboard, and miniature golf, to name a few of the activities. It was perfect for a family with two active boys.
Labor Day Weekend, Double J Campground – Chatham, IL
We liked this campground so much that we decided to park our camper there for future camping seasons. As the boys grew, our camper grew also.
Our current camper – Double J Campground
For four seasons, we traveled back and forth from our home to our camper and just enjoyed ourselves as a family. We went to antique stores, the Illinois State Fair, St. Louis, and local restaurants. We sat around the fire and had s’mores. We argued. We laughed until our sides hurt. We celebrated all the major summer holidays there. We hosted friends for a cookout. When the weather was unfit to go outside, we stayed in and watched “Live PD” or surfed the internet. We “glamped” to the fullest degree. It was my go-to place when I needed to have some mom time, write blog posts, and dig deep in the Word – that all happened in that camper.
All Good Things Must Come to an End
This past summer, it became undeniable that this would be the last camping season we would have. The boys are growing up, and the excitement of camping was wearing off. To schedule the time to go down had become a hassle because of the busyness of life.
I wanted all of us to go down together one last time as a family. I wanted to say goodbye to the campground owners, and I wanted to let Bailey have one last walk around the grounds. As Craig brought in the two-slide-outs, tears ran down my face. The cherished memories that we had made there as a family will never be forgotten. This is an end of an era, and the hard truth is that my boys are becoming young men who will soon have a life of their own. In the blink of an eye, they are no longer adventurous boys, but teenagers who are starting to find their way in the world and in Christ.
While I was reminiscing, my sweet 6’2″, soon-to-be 15-year-old son gave me the biggest hug ever, and simply said, “Mom, we had a lot of great memories camping – this is not the end, but just the beginning of more memories.” And he was precisely right. More memories are to come, and I can’t wait to see what they are!
“Are we really giving this up?” – Bailey
My name is Missy, and I love Jesus!
I am a Christ-follower, wife, mom, author, and speaker. I am dedicated to empowering women to live audaciously for Jesus. Now is the time, friends, to step out of the shadows and tell everyone about Him!
I am currently writing my second book and, in January 2024, will be launching my podcast.