Years ago my friend asked me to go camping with her and her child/children when they got a little older because her husband doesn’t like to camp. Of course I would! We planned to go the last weekend in June and added my niece (as her 4th birthday present).
As the scheduled weekend approached, my friend’s husband decided he didn’t want to miss his son’s first camping trip. So the crew continued to expand. It ended up that the aforementioned four of us went up on Friday early afternoon and then on Saturday my friend’s husband, their 3 year old and the sweet man in my life joined us.
#1 – I asked my friend to take a photo of that man and I. I have meant to do so on more than one occasion, but as of yet I had zero pictures of him. I looked at the photo in my camera before I went to bed and was struck by how happy/beautiful I looked.
#2 – The rain which began during the second night, which quieted the campsite, but stopped before morning so that we could pack up in the sun and leave camping as a positive experience for the new/infrequent campers.
Note: This rain did not affect another noise. Sometime in the middle of the night I asked the man next to me, "Is that a car alarm or a bird?" We've both camped a lot but neither of us have heard such a sound. It was incessant and continuous and some sort of animal/bird. Apparently 4 year olds don't wake for such things, but us adults were all quite aware.
Additional Note: I have learned the bird was a whippoorwill.
#3 – The almost 6 year old didn’t want to go home – he was busy building a road in the dirt by our picnic table. My niece on the other hand, when I asked if she wanted to go home or go for another swim, whispered in my ear, “Go home.” She had a good time too, but 48 hours is a while to be gone from mom and dad.
#4 – Reading the sweet man, while sitting in a meditative position and staring into each other’s eyes, the gratitudes (one for each year of his life) that I’d written for him for his birthday. At the beginning I could tell it was a little hard to hear. He’d read them all before (I sent them in the mail a while back), but what do you do with so much goodness? It’s interesting because I was looking at some books by Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt recently (a couple that writes about relationships). They have one called - Receiving love : transform your relationship by letting yourself be loved, whose whole premise is that sometimes it is actually difficult to let yourself be loved.
One of my gratitudes was about when we were at a park one evening with his kids and my niece. It was starting to cool off so he went to his car to grab a fleece long sleeve shirt. He came back and wrapped it over my shoulders even though I was already in long sleeves and he was in a t-shirt. As I read this gratitude to him today I added, “I thought they only did that in the movies.”
“Was that on there?” he asked.
I was touched that he was familiar enough with what I’d written to know I’d ad libbed.
#5 – My friend remarked, as she and I drove to the campsite, about a recent discussion with her husband about the sweet man and I and thinking that the next step for us was to move in together. As she said this I kind of shrugged my shoulders inside – maybe at some point. It didn’t feel like anything in the near future. Then two days later as I dragged on the process of leaving his place to go home, he finally said to me in the kitchen by the door, “If you’re not staying you need to go. Someone has to take charge here.” it suddenly felt a lot closer.