We settled in to the living room before a cozy fire to read our nightly advent story, Jotham's Journey....a story, I might add, which is near and dear to the heart of any boy. Sword fights, battles and brawls mix with jackals and lions. All three of my boys are riveted as we listen to the journey of the young shepherd boy on the way to find his lost family. By the end of the reading, the boys are more than prepared to face any lion or bear they might encounter in the night.
Following the story, the camp out preparations began. I have to smile at the enthusiasm and thoughtfulness shown by my weary husband. As the boys excitedly climbed into their pjs with directions to collect and prepare their weapons, Jason filled bags with provisions; animal cookies (of which they normally each get one cookie every night) and chocolates. He then hid them so the boys would be able to "hunt" for their camp out provisions. The boys donned their Larry Boy hats, explained by Caleb in that if anyone were to come upon them in the night, they would know they were superheros. Swords and light sabers were in hand. Nerf guns, ammunition, a hammer and a flashlight were brought into the camp with the provisions stored under the camp so that even if the bears could smell them, they would never find them. Blankets were hung from the top bunk to enclose the camp. The boys were, as Jason described them, "bright eyed and bushy tailed".....
I was told that Jason and the boys would also be protecting Anna Ruth and me. Caleb invited me to join the camp, and even offered to go get my Christmas cards downstairs so I could write them in the camp. I declined, due to my need to keep the camp fire burning in the woodstove. All agreed this was a worthy task. However......I will admit to sneaking up the stairs to growl and a few trips outside to throw stones and soccer balls at the house until I saw the flashlight pop on upstairs. I would then race back inside and hide on the stairs to hear the ensuing conversations. They were pretty certain I was a bear, though Papa mentioned it might be the "Abominable Snow Mama"!
Sometimes, I think the most fun we can have with our children is when we completely let loose and remember what it was like to be a kid.....it's not that far off really. I hope we can build as many of these "camp out" experiences in their little hearts as possible to create memories that will far outlive the events themselves and speak to their hearts of true love and family bonds when the pulls of the outside world become a lure to capture their attentions. Because, no one is truly too old for a little "camp out" now and then!!
And now, I've got to sign off for the night. I need to make my last rounds and stoke the fire before the changing of the guard. :-)