This week, we took a little break. Fall Break to be exact. Since Riley started kindergarten, it was our very first one. Since the school calendar is full of breaks that are not observed in the real world, I had two choices: put her in an all-day camp or take a mini vacation. Needless to say, mini vacation won out.
A friend recently told me about a campsite an hour away that rented RVs and had a lot of kid-friendly activities in the park. He didn’t need to work too hard to convince me that we needed to go. All that needed to be said was “RV for rent.” Riley and I have dreamed for two years of traveling the Midwest in our very own RV. The dream was hatched when we accompanied my parents to the Indianapolis Boat and RV show. We toured different models and dreamed of adventure. Riley was just as smitten as I was. She scours the road for RVs, spends hours reading RV reviews and asks frequently when we will have our own. When I told her we would be staying in one for a couple days, she looked at me as if Christmas had come early. Maddie, who had only been a few months old at the RV show, joined in the celebration but wasn’t too sure why it was so exciting.
We arrived at the park on a rainy Sunday afternoon. The rain gave us plenty of time to explore our temporary home. Riley excitedly pointed out all of the features and quickly found her favorite one – the bunk beds. The rain didn’t last too long, and we were able to get out that night for a walk about the campground. Our night was full of board games and campfires.
The next day, we went into town to enjoy ice cream in an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. It came recommended by a handful of people and did not disappoint. The parlor has been in business since 1900, and they have worked hard to maintain the magic from that time. The ice cream was served in beautiful glassware and was delicious. It was easy to see why so many people provided a rave review. We made our way back to the campground and spent our time visiting the playground, painting our pumpkins, and having scooter races. The girls made friends with kids in the neighboring campsite, and they played hide and seek into the evening hours. It was a perfect day.
Our short vacation came to an end the next day, and we reluctantly packed up our things. Riley insisted on one more round of scooter races, which we dragged out to avoid our inevitable departure. When the time came, the girls cried. Rather, they sobbed about half of the way home. The vacation was clearly a success, and they were clearly tired.
Driving home, when it was finally quiet, I thought a lot about what made camping days so much better than normal days. The obvious is that there aren’t any of the pressures of work and school, but it isn’t just letting go of those. It’s what we do when we let go of them. In the absence of daily pressures, we get to focus on the good stuff: letting go of the clock, playing games together, spending all day outside, and making new friends. That’s what makes camping so glorious and we can’t wait to go back!