Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Simple Things

Last weekend the whole Bergstrom side of the family went camping... Eric and Eli and me, my sisters and their husbands and kids, and my parents. We have done this twice a year for as long as I can remember. As little girls we would look forward all summer to the fall camp-out and all winter to the spring camp-out. We would pack up the car and drive 2 1/2 hours to Daingerfield State Park, asking every 3 minutes, "Are we there yet?" We longed to finally climb out of the car and run down to see the lake. We wanted to swim out to the dock and rate each other's dives on a scale of 1-10. We couldn't wait to feed bread to the ducks and use our Snoopy fishing poles to reel in perch from the fishing pier. We loved to hop on the back of the paddle boat as my parents paddled us all around the lake, looking at the banks for turtles and stopping at the deepest part in the middle of the lake to jump off and swim. We somewhat dreaded the long walk around the lake, but my parents made it fun by playing games the whole way and bribing us with snow cones from the camp store if we made it all the way around without complaining. At night we counted the minutes until it was dark enough to build the campfire, and we would sit for hours around it, listening to funny stories from my dad and eating the S'mores my mom made for us. And we'd climb into the little bed at night, all snuggled close together, and drift off to sleep as we listened to my parents play Scrabble together in the candlelight. And we'd dream all night of all the fun things that awaited us the next morning.

These are simple things. Things that kids today may think boring and silly. They might rather be playing video games or watching tv. But I can't think of anything more healthy for a child, for anyone, really, than to enjoy the simple things in life. I am deeply thankful for my parents, who taught us to love looking for bugs and lizards beneath fallen trees, who chased us around a field in a game of tag, who made tossing bread to ducks an exciting activity, who showed us that a weekend spent outside with no communication with anyone or anything besides our family and nature was the very best way to spend our time.

And I love that we're still doing it to this day! Daingerfield is still my favorite place in Texas. Our bi-yearly trips are the weekends I look forward to most the whole year. It is a joy to bring my husband to this place where I spent so many days of my childhood and to watch as he and my brothers-in-law fall in love with these weekends too. It was an even greater joy to bring our little son to this place, to put him in the carrier and walk with him around the lake, to lay on a blanket with him in the shade as the breeze blew leaves all around us, to see him interact with his grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, to put him to bed at night in a little cabin and let him fall asleep to the sounds of his family talking and laughing around the campfire outside.

I want Eli and any other children we may have to realize that the simple things are the best things. I want him to look forward all year to looking for turtles from the back of his Grandpa's paddle boat, to running around in the field chasing his cousins, to finding a lizard under a log on the walk around the lake. I want him to know, even as the world changes and bad things happen all around us, that family is safe and fun and the very best place to be. I want to give him the simple things just as my parents gave them to me, and I want him to love them just as much as his parents do. And I want us to praise God together as a family for the many beautifully simple things that He has given us to enjoy, for they are so many.