I won’t lie to you. I had a lot of concerns going into the Great American Backyard Campout. I knew R. would still be in Italy, and this would be my first experience camping without him in charge. Would I be able to put up the tent on my own? (I did. Eventually.) Would I be able to start a fire on my own? (I did.) Would it be too sweltering in the tent to get any sleep at all? (It wasn’t.) I was just too nervous to attempt “real” camping on my own – backyard camping seemed the best alternative.
But I have to tell you this: the thing I was not worried about (the house) turned out to be the biggest problem of all. Ok. Not the house exactly, but the stuff inside it. The TV. The video games. Even the legos! Not for the girls – the girls were happy as clams out in the playhouse. But the boys were much harder to keep outside unless there was fire of some sort involved. So, I gave them fire.
The two friends sleeping over with Fletcher initially turned up their noses at the idea of sparklers. When did 7 year olds become too cool and grown up for sparklers? Poor Fletcher seemed really crushed – it was painful to watch because he had been so excited about them just a moment earlier. But when the rest of us went out front to light the sparklers it didn’t take 2 seconds for those too cool boys to join in the fun – I mean, who doesn’t love a good sparkler, right?
In the end I think everyone had a great time, and we raised some money for the National Wildlife Federation to boot! Sleeping in the tent was perfect for a sleepover. The boys are old enough to sleep back there without an adult now, and I think that will be much more fun for everyone involved! Plus, the tent is still up days after the camp out and has served as staging ground for all sorts of games with the neighbors – castles and knights, dragons and princesses galore!
For my money, the next time I sleep under the stars I hope it is real camping under the stars and not quite so close to a streetlight . . . especially now that I know I can pull it off on my own if I need to.