As I write this, several of my siblings are enjoying a family camping trip. I’m sure we would be welcome to join them if we had the necessary gear for participation; like a camper, or at least a tent and sleeping bags.
At least in theory we would be welcome, but I can’t really imagine our family in camping mode, especially the two youngest, at 7 and 10. The two who believe that a campfire means just one thing: s’mores, that wonderful concoction that one of their aunts introduced them to at my mother’s house one warm summer evening a year ago. And s’mores make them hyper. Not the picture-perfect scenario I hear that my siblings enjoy every evening around the campfire. Instead, for them, the darkness of the night and crackling fire brings out the camaraderie of siblings reminiscing about their shared childhood, something I’d like to be a part of too, but not with two hyped up kids on marshmallow crack.
Besides that, I like my bed too much.
I also like my connection to the Internet.
That doesn’t mean I don’t see the goodness and beauty in the simplicity of a day or two away from the computer and a house just begging to be cleaned. I certainly appreciate how my siblings could enjoy a camping trip.
And this summer, I think I’ve gotten a taste of it.
Finally, at age 7, my youngest can go to the local swimming pool and have fun playing by herself. Last summer I took her twice and didn’t enjoy it at all. The glare of the sun and the feeling of foolishness at splashing in the children’s area was enough to make me vow not to go back again. Not only that, but every time Abby approached the deep area, I gritted my teeth in terror. (Not only do I not know how to swim, I am one of those people who actually fears water and grips my steering wheel with a death grip every time I go over a bridge)
As I played with Abby I snuck looks at the women on the sidelines with their paperback books. If I were to ever go to the pool again, I wanted to be one of those mothers.
Now I am.
Abby has taken the first level of swimming lessons. Twice. (Don’t ask) She is comfortable in the water now and knows how to dog-paddle and otherwise entertain herself. While she plays in the water, I sit on a lounge chair on the sidelines.
Reading, people, reading. A book that doesn’t pertain to the writing of my own.
Because we have three daughters who love going to the pool, we paid for a family pass this summer. That means I could go to the pool every day if I wanted.
To read and get away from the computer for a while.
This morning I spent a couple hours doing research on the computer. Then I rode my bike to the library and wrote for two hours. When I came home I worked on the computer some more.
By mid-afternoon the campsite where my family was staying looked more and more enticing, especially if my sister’s knee would be up to a hike. But besides the long drive to get there, I wasn’t sure what we’d do when we got there. Abby isn’t easily entertained and would probably annoy the heck out of my siblings whose children are all grown up. But she can play happily in a swimming pool for a couple of hours. I packed my messenger bag, and off we went on our bikes.
Away from the computer. Away from the laundry and the dishes. Away from the long to-do list on my desk.
For four solid hours.
I read a book: (Smotherhood by Amber Lamb~good, but kind of condescending to at-home mothers, of whom the author admires but could not possibly be, because she would be bored~ you know, because unlike those mothers, she is too creative, intelligent and interesting to stay home with her children. Unsaid, but implied.)
I wrote a letter to my friend. I watched Abby jump off the side of the pool and put her head under. Several times. Something she wouldn’t do during her swimming lessons, thus the repeated class. I contemplated this blog posting and closed my eyes and enjoyed the sunshine. For four solid hours, which passed very quickly by the way, I didn’t have technology beckoning to me, didn’t have to clean house, and didn’t have to make snacks or do anything else I didn’t have to do. It was just what I needed to end the day today. Perhaps, going to the pool is my camping experience, at least for now.
The pool is my oyster, so to speak.
And tonight, I get to sleep in my own bed.