An Odd Birthday Request


This past weekend I drove to Texas for a family vacation of sorts. My dear mother's 50th birthday is today, and for her big celebration, when asked what she wanted most in the world, she requested the six of us go camping. Yes, that's right. Sleep-on-the-ground-in-a-tent-and-in-a-sleeping-bag-and-roast-marshmallows-and-hot-dogs-around-a-fire camping.

Mid-life crisis, perhaps? No, my family just loves camping that much. See, we used to go all the time when I was younger. I think I have more vivid camping memories than I do of anything else. Come to find out, we haven't actually been legit camping as a family in over 10 years, which is why my thirteen-year-old sister has no such fond camping memories. But she does now.

We brought a Frisbee, two footballs, and a soccer ball; and I almost ate dirt after tripping over a piece of wood trying to catch a toss from my brother. (I did catch it, by the way.) We hung our old hammock between two trees, and my dad and brothers put our tent up while us girls got all the lunch fixin's set up nice and purdy.

Later, after a late lunch and before the sun set, we walked down to the lake and spent a good half hour skipping rocks.

When it started to get dark, we laid out sleeping bags, and my mom warmed up the beef stew she'd made the night before. After that we sat around the campfire and roasted marshmallows--three per s'more for me!

Then we huddled close to the water spout and passed a tube of toothpaste around the circle, taking turns wiping our wet hands with the one towel my mom had remembered to toss in the car at the last second.

I was finally snuggled deep into my sleeping bag when I discovered I needed to go to the bathroom. My brother Daniel offered to walk to the building with me, and on the way we saw four deer silhouetted against the tree line. The stars were out, and in the middle of the Texas country, away from city lights, they were beautiful.

I woke up in the morning to the sound of my dad chopping wood for the fire. After pulling on my dirt-crusted shoes, I unzipped the tent and slowly made my way to the fire.

(But not before a sneak picture of my mom. Or, rather, the top of my mom's head.)

Soon, my mom and sister appeared from their caves; and before long, breakfast was mentioned.

There's definitely nothing quite like my dad and mom tag-teaming to make eggs (Dad) and bacon (Mom) on a skillet over a mini stove for breakfast. Freaking delicious is what it is. And I don't even usually like eggs.

See? I'm tired and I think my right eye is closed, and I'm still excited about eggs!
My brothers and sister and I kicked the soccer ball around for a while after that, and then it was time to pack up. 

We spent two days and one night at our campsite--a short vacation carved out of an otherwise hectic week. At first I thought camping was a rather odd birthday request. Turned out, it was perfect. It might sound strange, but I honestly can't think of any better way to spend a birthday.