There are times when town-cooped boys must be let loose, set free to run wild in nature. Thank the good Lord we live in the Ozarks; there's no better place to release such a boy. That being said, these are the times that might try parents' souls. There is a certain sort of backwoods daredevilry that comes with parenting four raucous boys in the Ozarks, and this was none more apparent than when we descended on had-been quiet campground on Table Rock Lake. We pulled up to tent-site 278, and our boys bolted out with the screeching laughter of crazed hyena pups uncaged for the first time. As Amber and I unloaded and tended to setting up camp, the boys kicked up the dust, began playing antiquated games like cops and robbers, freeze tag, and allies versus Nazis, all at Rolling Stones concert decibel levels.
Amber and I looked across the way at the young couple reading their bibles at tent-site 277; we heard the relaxing reggae vibes of tent site 279. That's when we realized it--we had exploded smack in the middle the peaceful Eden of others. Here were our boys--they were raising a ruckus.
We did our best to quasi-corral them, to teach them respect for the peace of others while still expressing their wild-boy natures. We gathered around the campfire, shared root beer and good stories with each other.
Jude directed the cheering section, although I'm not quite sure why we were cheering.
There were kabobs and hobo potatoes cooked in foil under the coals. The open fire was a bit of a stressor for Amber, I'm not going to lie.
Late into the evening, there was raucus laughter, and admittedly a bit too much parental angst. "Shhhhhh boys!" we said, "there are people trying to sleep!"
At the end of evening, we huddled up into a big tent, said our goodnights, and fell asleep to the sounds of tree frogs. I'll be honest, it was a fitful night, what with little boys needing to answer the call of nature, each in their turn, what with the constant zippering and unzippering of the tent door. At some point, I dosed off, only realizing it when I woke to the belching of the great blue heron. I rolled over to see Titus, fast asleep.
This family camping bit can be exhausting, no doubt. I suppose that both Amber and I are more tired now than we were before we left. This is the way of service, though. We spend ourselves for the joy of others (even our children), and in the end, the reward is better than any pot of money.
Here's to a few good memories, a photo or two, and a tent site full of joy. This is enough for me.