S’more summer family adventures | Faithful Living
By JOAN BAY KLOPE
Whidbey News Times Columnist
June 24, 2011 · Updated 1:14 PM
Years ago, when our three kids were in elementary school, my husband and I decided it was important that they experience nature up close and personal on the Olympic Peninsula. I prepared a travel kit for each child, complete with healthy snacks, activity books and brand new markers. Climbing into our van, each with a blanket and pillow covered by a case I made from fabric they picked out themselves, they resembled happy little campers as we made our way down the island and onto the ferry.
I played tour guide and Matt drove. I read out loud to them about the campground and the national park we were to visit. They listened but also napped and colored. They also squabbled as siblings do. I recall more than a few, “He’s breathing my air!” and “She’s looking at me!” complaints. It’s what happens in a car without mind-numbing DVD players.
What stands out above all else that trip is Matt’s attempt to entice our children away from their travel kits. “Look outside, kids! People come great distances to visit this part of the country. It’s beautiful!”
After a few moments Megan shook her head and took on her role as head spokesperson for our trio: “But Dad, it looks just like our backyard! Can we go swimming in a hotel?”
A couple of days later, after continual nature watching, we kept our promise and “hotelled it” so they could swim and warm up. Camping in dampness had chilled them to the core. We also branched out did a little shopping. The moment we entered the mall all three hollered in unison, “Escalator!” before running to catch a ride.
A nearby shopper, amused and puzzled, asked where on earth we lived that we’d have children so excited for such a mundane conveyance. “An island!” we replied.
This week we sat out until late, several nights, to visit and take in the beauty that is our island. It’s what we do when it’s summer and the kids wander home. For Father’s Day we gifted the king of the household with a tabletop patio heater, so we can sit out in comfort even longer when crab season begins. But for now we pull up chairs around a fire ring. Most nights we carry out S’more ingredients and roast away. On Saturdays, weather permitting, I load up a plastic container with everything we like for a hot dog roast and take dinner outside. Word that roasting takes place regularly has reached sundry friends and they show up as well. We say, “The S’more, the better!”
It’s the face time I treasure. It’s the laughter, the quiet pauses, the pets playing around us. It’s people being themselves amid the sounds of the forest. And it’s the gentleness of God’s natural world at night that pleases this mother’s heart. He certainly writes of His great love for us in the Bible, but also in the sounds of the trees. The birds. The wild roses and thimble berries. And the people in our lives.
Thank you, God.
Reach Joan Bay Klope at firstname.lastname@example.org.