Today over at Cloth diapering Mama’s I compared cloth diapering to dieting. I’m sure if you try really hard you to will see the connection.
And somewhere in there I snuck in camping. Which is how we spent Memorial Day Weekend.
For the past seventeen years of my life, I have spent Memorial Day weekend in the same exact spot. With the same exact people. Doing the same exact thing (huddling under a tarp/tent or around a fire trying to stay dry). Sounds like fun. No?!
There is a subtlety to setting up tarps so that they cover the majority of your camping area including your fire pit but don’t catch on fire.
It is also important not to set your two year old on fire. This is what we spent most of the weekend trying to achieve ( a fire free two year old). Frankly, he was like a moth to a flame. If there was a way to go around the fire, he would not take it..he must go through!!!! We would have been completely successful except for a minor incident where ‘brudder’ pushed him in to the almost completely out firepit. So no harm, no foul. And more importantly no burns.
Why have I dragged my kids to the same damp and rainy campground for the last four years? Tradition! And I would have to say, Love.
The people who gather at that damp Oregon beach every May all come for the same reason. They want to. Something draws them to each other and to that spot where thirty five years ago they all happened upon a trail that led them to the beach. A trail that drew them back weekend after weekend, year after year.
A trail that called to them so strongly that they brought their girlfriends, and boyfriends, later wives and husbands and babies to that spot. I am the oldest of the second generation. Adopted in by a family of sorts. A family that inquires politely what you’ve been up to for the past year but really only cares that you are there today.
They don’t really care that it’s raining, we’ll head down to the beach anyway. The don’t really care who eats where, who sleeps where or whose kids go where. It is all inclusive and full of love for each other.
My children are part of the third generation of this mishmash family. A family that continues to evolve as the first generation’s paths start to diverge. Some have moved out of the area, some have moved on, some are not quite the same as they were.
But the memories are there. Inevitably the fireside conversations turn to the past, to faces I’ve never seen and don’t remember. To wild nights on the beach, and mornings of recovery. To tussles and brawls and to who brought the youngest baby to that spot.
Legolas told me that they spent the weekend visiting the grave sites of family members as did many around the country. I really have no family members to visit. I’m a transplant to the PNW. My two grandfathers are buried 3,000 miles away in Pennsylvania, I am blessed to not have other graves to visit.
But each of my Memorial day weekends is memorable. Each one of them holds stories and tall tales worthy of Paul Bunyan (I’m sure). And each one of them holds memories, of those gone from the firelight.
Every single rain soaked moment of those damp weekends is full of magical memories for me. A life time of growing and learning and becoming the woman I am. It is a safe haven of stories told for my benefit and for those around me to pass on by people who remember a painfully shy, totally terrified young teenager who they made one of their own. Unconditionally and forever.
And that is why I buckle my little Hobbits into the car each May for a long tiring road trip to a very damp hole in the ground to visit their far flung clan.
All you need is love….and a good tarp.