Camp-Out with Daddy

3

I am excited to finally have a chance to write today! It was such a busy weekend. I didn’t have a moment to put fingers to keys. But I am able to report many personal and family accomplishments which occurred in the last 72 hours.
Saturday morning, I ran my first 5K (3.1 miles) since having Gracie. I ran with a fellow mom friend who had a baby twelve days before I had Grace. We did the Run or Dye 5K. Proceeds benefited the American Lung Association. We were covered head to toe in pink, orange, purple, yellow, green and blue powder dye at each half mile marker. The boys thought it was hilarious when I got home. It was so much fun and thousands of people participated. It wasn’t a timed run but we did finish it. It was a nice way to ease back into competitive running.
Saturday afternoon I came home to a mess of a house but it’s ok, because Scott kept the boys fed and happy; priority number one. Sweet baby Grace, however, refused to take a bottle the whole time I was gone so she was famished and very excited to see me. As soon as I got out of the shower, I took care of her. It was the longest we’ve been apart since she was born. I had been so nervous to even sign up for the race because of her aversion to bottles, but Scott promised me he would keep trying and even though it didn’t work, she did survive. I don’t want to do that on a regular basis, but it proved to me once again just how capable Scott is.
The whole rest of the afternoon, Scott and the boys played outside. It was a gorgeous late summer day. I could hear Noah’s excited yelps as he zipped around the yard. Luke came in once or twice for an “iPad break,” but went right back out. They ate an awesome dinner (Noah actually had a grilled cheese and a peanut butter and jelly). Then as I was serving dinner, I glanced out into the backyard and noticed my crazy ambitious husband setting up the tent in the backyard…
…It was a gorgeous day, but the lows at night had been dropping well into the mid- thirties. Quickly, I grabbed Grace out of her exer-saucer to interrogate Scott.
“Whatchya doin’?” I asked shielding the sun from Grace’s eyes.
“Setting up the tent. What’s it look like I’m doing?” he asked slightly exasperated.

Now back it up about a month or so. I had suggested to Scott that he do a backyard camp-out with the boys, but he’d never quite gotten around to it. We’d had such a busy summer with something going on every weekend that prevented an ideal opportunity for a camp-out. I did consider this before I chose my next words.
“I know you have been wanting to do this for a while, and it is so sweet of you to want to do it now, but don’t you think it might be a little cold outside tonight to do this?”
“We’ll have the space heater,” he said gesturing to the fire hazard space heater and extension cord lying nearby in the grass. I could tell this was going to be a closed discussion. I pressed my lips together and knew the only thing left to say was, “I will get the blankets and sheets for the air mattress.” I bit my tongue before I said, “fire extinguisher.”

Dusk was fading to navy blue and the temperature was dropping quickly. I had taken Gracie with me to the grocery store for a few things and also to distract myself from having an anxiety attack. Now, I should say, I trust Scott most of the time. And even in this instance, I didn’t doubt his ability to keep the boys safe. He has been hunting in much colder weather without a space heater, countless times. He has been camping more times than I. He is far more “out-doorsy” than me in most ways.

But the what-ifs were buzzing around my head again… Luke had been fighting a cold… What if Scott fell into one of his coma-like sleeps and didn’t wake up if one of the boys needed to go potty… What if the tent caught on fire… or a coyote came out of the woods and started attacking them? I shook my head at my own imagination and put the groceries away. I went out and took their picture and kissed them all good-night.

I kept a constant vigil on the tent from inside the house after I put Grace to bed. I turned on a movie that Scott would never watch with me; Pride and Prejudice. It’s my go-to any time he’s away hunting or on business. But tonight, Knightly and McFayden weren’t doing as great of a job holding my attention. The only thing separating my babies from the night were four thin, nylon walls and their daddy. I craned my neck more times than I care to admit, looking for the inevitable blaze to be dancing in the pitch dark.

Grace was up about every two hours to nurse and I never really calmed down enough to fall into a deep sleep after feeding her. The only phone call I got from the tent was Scott asking me to go turn off the sprinklers. Apparently one had popped up under the tent and was spinning around underneath them. That was actually quite funny and I could hear the boys giggling hysterically in the background.

Camping Boys

But somehow midnight melted to two-a.m., two a.m. bled into four, and at about six in the morning, with a very gloomy sunrise, my brave boys shuffled into the kitchen. Their cheeks were rosy and they carried their blankets. I kissed them and asked them if they liked it. They both started chattering at the same time about how cool it was. Then I heard Scott tumble into the house, arms full of sheets and all of their gear. I looked up at him smiling, “Good job,” I mouthed. He gave a tired, but victorious smile.
“Who wants pancakes?” I asked.
The boys started jumping up and down, “We do!”

Scott dumped everything in the laundry room and told me that he was going to take a hot shower. Apparently, he froze the whole night so that the boys could have the air mattress and the space heater to themselves. And I realized in that moment, once again, what a great man I had chosen to be the father of our kids.

He was very happy (and sleepy) the whole morning until I told him we were going apple picking that afternoon in the rain. Then I remembered what a crab I had chosen to be the father of our kids. But he took a nap and recharged enough so that we even had fun getting soggy at the apple orchard. And now it’s Monday and for once, I think he was very excited to be going back to work.

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