Some things I’ve learned over the last 5 years camping with boys;
1. They are gaseous creatures, and can entertain themselves thereby into the wee hours of the morning.
2. Up until 11, they believe that Dad, and most other men, are nigh immortal, and can do no wrong. Once they turn 13, hormones ruin their brains, and they are no longer capable of believing this… or doing much of anything constructive. They should be flushed post-haste.
3. Just because the toilet seat has been left up, does NOT mean the the top of the seat is dry.
4. The seat MUST be left in the upright position in the night, in this way it can entrap sleepy eyed and less wary souls.
5. Showers are optional, and when taken, soap is still optional.
6. They determine pecking order like animals, stronger body odor imputes higher rank.
7. One pair of clothes, socks, underwear and all, are amply sufficient for a week’s excursion.
8. Food does not have to be cooked to be eaten, but can also be consumed in a nearly perfect carboniferous state.
9. Deep down inside, they are still tender young warriors who are searching, and work hard to hide that fact.
10. We need to work equally hard to give them the chance to grow into that reality.
11. In brief moments of confusion, they may still come up and put their arms around you and call you Daddy.
12. They will hurt you when you play TOUCH football.
13. They grow up too fast.
The most sobering thing I’ve learned is that looking at them, my own son in particular, is like looking into a window to the past. I see myself, and cannot be too hard on them (or him), because somehow I grew out of all (ok, most) of that. I was given a lot of grace along the way, and they need all of it that we can give to them..
The other thing that I really, really appreciate is that they are more forgetful of poor parenting choices, and more forgiving toward imperfect role models than I could believe. Whew!
So, camping with them is fun. But in a few more years that chapter will be over, and I’ll be back to wilderness forays with a few like-minded friends.
But the days spent with the boys will have been absolutely the best!