The Family That Camps Together …

Two nights before the Wolter family “campout,” my kids started an online chat with Sandy and I that was the weirdest thing ever.
They were concerned about a number of things, especially where everyone would sleep. They were even more concerned about morning showers.
A little background might be in order here. My wife and I have three daughters, who are all grown up now with families of their own. Between the three of them, they’ve got two husbands and six kids. So it was my youngest daughter’s bright idea (Laura) that everybody get together for a three-day weekend to experience a “family campout.”
At first, we considered renting a cabin or two near a lake. That was expensive. We decided, ultimately, to have it at our place. All of us (that’s 13) were to stay together at our house in Worthington and play games, make s’mores in our backyard fire pit, play some Monopoly and backgammon, eat really well, and basically just hang out and enjoy each other. We planned one day at Sioux Falls, where we’d eat a picnic lunch at Falls Park and spend the rest of the day at Wild Water West.
But shortly before all this was to happen, our daughters decided to go online with questions on just how all of this was going to work.
Kari wanted to know where everyone would sleep. Shannon was worried that Laura’s son Tyson (who is a well-known light sleeper) might wake her up in the middle of the night. She needs a full night’s sleep, after all.
Laura said not to worry about it. So did I. Kari’s clan can sleep in the second bedroom. Laura’s family can sleep in the family room. Shannon’s outfit can sleep in the third bedroom. And if anyone needs more privacy than that, they can sleep on the couch in the living room. That is, if they didn’t want to pitch a tent in the back yard (we discouraged it, fearing the likelihood that a swarm of mosquitoes might carry away one of our grandkids).
The online back-and-forth at first was maddening. Then it became hilarious as we got sillier and sillier about all our ridiculous concerns.
The silliest issue of all was the morning shower thing. How would we all get our showers in a house that had just one and a half bathrooms (just one room containing a tub and shower, that is)?
I explained, sitting at my desk computer, that it would all work out and that nobody should be anxious. But there was an abundance of unease, notwithstanding. I finally wrote that I would be happy to forgo a shower, personally, and simply go to the half-bath each morning and splash water on myself from the sink.
The next message was from Laura. “Guess I’m not getting close to dad, then.”
Sandy, participating from her laptop in the family room, quickly added to the conversation with a message of her own. “Doug, you need to take a shower.”
I’m happy to report that the three-day camping weekend went marvelously well. Wild Water West was a blast, and we took lots of pictures while climbing on the rocks at Falls Park. Back home, we swatted mosquitoes while toasting marshmallows on the fire pit and played lots of games together. Everybody contributed for meals; the pancakes Mike (Kari’s husband) made for our breakfast meals were particularly tasty. We sat around in the mornings in our jammies and in the evening sat and watched kid movies before bedtime. Shannon got her beauty rest. The grandkids behaved themselves throughout, and we bonded in a way that families can never really bond until they go on a three-day campout together.
And, much to the relief of everyone, I made it to the shower every morning.