Backyard Magic – Summer Staycation

Backyard Magic – Summer Staycation

It’s a bit of an after-post, but an experience worth recording.

Our very first night in our little camper was spent at home and shared with cousins – a child’s first friend, as they say. After a long afternoon drenched in sun and sand at the beach we went home for an adventurous little Staycation. Magic.

Pizza is a food group in our family (inherited gene) so it was a natural choice to kick off the evening with a pie. When you have a staycation you can bend the rules a little and get creative with camp food and amenities. As parents we have to put in a lot up front. Many of the rewards are realized, and our efforts appreciated, long down the road. For this reason, especially, I relish the ability to surprise the babes and receive an immediate outburst of approval now and then. Like quietly driving up to the front of the pizza joint and letting them draw a conclusion. When the lightbulb goes off I’m met with wild applause and stadium worthy squeals. Magic.

After pizza we suited up in our Minnesota summer evening armor – long pants/shirts and bug spray. It makes no difference that it’s 80 degrees with no breeze. We accept each other as sweaty messes out of survival from the blasted mosquito. A few of those little suckers still made it through my stretch pants and claimed unmentionable territory. It makes for awkward relief in public.

Our backyard has always felt safe and cozy and protected. It’s simple and the condition of the lawn is nothing to write home about, but the hours of heart and hard work we’ve put into it over the past decade makes it feel cherished. Perhaps it’s the company it’s surrounded by and the memories it holds. All of my children’s firsts have taken place in this home. Every year the backyard is location to my favorite of celebrations…birthday parties. Celebrating their ‘now’ and reflecting upon what brought them here, to the background tune of loved ones. Magic.

On the present night, the yard feels particularly safe and cozy as I watch the kids run together in a wild pack, imaginations in full-gear and building upon each other. They are totally engrossed in play. 8 ½ years separate the youngest and the oldest of cousins and I love that they still find common ground. Magic.

Watching the simplicity of the cousins playing together brings me back to my own childhood. To a time when you knew little hurt, heartache, stress, judgment, or responsibility. To a time when the smallest of adventures was absolutely thrilling. To a time when you felt safe wherever you were. Freedom. Magic.

The kids were on stick duty, between trips to play in the playhouse, and helped me keep the fire going in hopes of gooey s’mores. Our kindling was a box of old documents that needed shredding and spurred a free throw challenge of balled paper into the fire. Boundaries were marked and assigned point value. The ground looked like the result of a freak summer hail storm. I commented on how I hadn’t seen any fireflies this summer and my niece spotted one not a minute later. The kids immediately switched gears racing around together with determination and strategy chasing the illusive creatures. Nature’s little lanterns. Magic.

We finally climbed in the camper that evening and got settled into our beds after one final bathroom break and multiple rounds of the giggles. I rested snuggled between my giddy, wiggly babes, all full of love and excitement and each said, “I love you, Mama.” Oh, how I love you, too. Magic.

I think this crazy little camper idea will grow into something of tradition. I made a personal promise to never stop challenging myself and doing things that scare me. This week, I may even figure out how to hook it up and haul it ;)

Adventure is in the eye of the beholder.

To adventures…


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