Wednesday, July 21, 2010

camping by the beach

Back in college, I stumbled upon a small beach park on the Michigan side of the lake, just down the shore from the big Indiana Dunes State Park. This beach was more to my liking, small, with boardwalks for wandering and campsites nestled in behind the oaks. Since we left South Bend, this spot has become an annual destination for camping and playing.

Camping with kids can be a lot of work, but it's worth it for us to share this with our children. Each year, the kids are able to help more and more with the packing, planning and work involved. I do believe there is something to be said for spending time, unstructured and unscheduled, exploring and interacting with all the elements around us -- and not only for the children. There is work involved in these undertakings, yes, but there is a sort of "reset" triggered when we step outside the day-to-day rhythm and spend these moments in awe and discovery.

Last year, Charlotte was too small and sleepy to care much about the beach. This time, she seemed right at home among the water and sand.

After a delicious campfire dinner, we returned to the beach to take in the lake at sunset.

I am grateful for the chance to share these experiences with our children, to see the peace and joy they find beyond the walls of our home and to watch as moments like these are woven into their memories.