Weekend Reflections – Making Memories

Up until this past weekend, my family and I have gone camping with other families when we go. This time, though, it was just the four of us. My boys were forced to redefine what camping meant to them. Before, camping meant spending time with friends generally their age. It meant more than being just with the people with whom they live and spend their daily lives.

When they found out this trip would be “just the four of us,” both boys seemed at a loss of what we would do to fill the time. In other words, they were certain it would be boring. When I saw their disappointment and the anticipation and excitement drain from their eyes, a determination rose up in me to show them how to choose to make a disappointing situation become a memorable experience.

Sugar

I don’t like it. I don’t eat much of it usually. Yet, so many of life’s pleasures have it. At some point, I simply came to terms with the idea that letting my kids have s’mores with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and chewy chocolate chip cookies wasn’t being a bad mom. It’s creating a memory that will span generations. Besides, it’s not like we have them for breakfast. (Okay, maybe cookies once, but that’s it.) The point is that having treats like this goes a long way in making the trip memorable for my family simply because it was special and not something they normally get.

Fire

Making popcorn over a campfire in a coffee can. Cooking almost all our meals over the fire. Watching things melt. Yes, we probably sometimes broke the rule to not play with fire, but at least it was contained. All campers are captivated by this element around which all campsites center. As we sat there at various times during the day and every evening, we constantly ended up“fanning the flames” of connection in our family in some way. (Check out 1 Timothy 1:3-7 for added emphasis on the importance of family connection.)We remembered a lot of fun times, we joked, we talked about when my husband and I were kids, and we even talked about books and movies. And at some point we got to words that might not have ever been said in the company of others or even at the dinner table at home. Family words spoken in the dark as we watched the fire.

Movement

We spent a lot of time just sitting and relaxing or reading, but a large part of this trip was about activity. Most of this activity necessitated family interaction. Corn hole. Bike rides. Walks. Swimming. We competed with each other, and we even trash talked some. Movement together as a family leads to compromise, conflict resolution, preferring and encouraging. At home, we can find separate corners of the house when irritations arise. While camping, there’s no real getting away from one another. Camping can promote much-needed interaction as a family, especially in the absence of electronics (which I highly recommend, by the way).

Disappointing to Memorable

Seems silly to bring sugar, fire and movement together in a post reflecting on my weekend, but as I think about this past weekend and what we did to create memories, I realize that these three elements really came together to allow us to be fully present as individuals in a family unit. They helped create an atmosphere that allowed each one of us to enjoy every moment together.

Which brings me full circle to turning disappointing into memorable. The elements that seem essential for that recipe include being fully present, doing something special, creating the right atmosphere, moving together and preferring one another. Sure, there are tons of ways to create memories as a family, but don’t they all really contain the same ingredients? What ingredients am I missing?

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10 thoughts on “Weekend Reflections – Making Memories

  1. Sounds like a great weekend.

    My family loves camping(more than I do) I go because I love them not the camping. Camping takes work too and I think it is the working without complaining that helps bond us with everyone pitching in. We know we are doing the work for the enjoyment that we are going to have or had. There is something mesmerizing about sitting in the dark around a campfire talking. My kids love smores with even our camper license plate 3 SMORES. My daughter Jessi considered by family and friends the best marshmallow preparer of all time.  That makes what we do nice too when you recognize one another for things they do well to help out everyone during the camping.

    I am interested in what you meant by “And at some point we got to words that might not have ever been said in the company of others or even at the dinner table at home. Family words spoken in the dark as we watched the fire.”

    • I'm with you. I love my family but not so much camping. What I meant by the statement you mention is that we get into discussions that we might not get into if other people were there. We talk about dreams and goals and even fears that we would be afraid to say if others were around. I think just getting out of the home setting and into something different causes us to think differently and to get a different perspective. Does that help the statement to make more sense?

  2. You know it is something about talking in the dark too. We sit on the back porch in the dark and talk sometimes and I think it makes us feel more comfortable to say something when nobody can see our face?

  3. Your reflections line up well with my Monday post, slowing down and enjoying the pleasure of being with one another. Camping sounds like an excellent exercise in building community.

  4. Ha, that actually sounds like a great time. It's funny – parents strive a lot of times to create really great memories at Disney and the like, but the things that make the most impact with kids often are the "simpler" things.

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