This post brought to you by Aerogard, Mortein and Nuffnang.
The weekend before I start work, we go gramping.
All good gramping trips start with packing the car. It’s one of those completely irrelevant life skills I like to pride myself on. It’s almost like a life sized game of Tetris. I expertly stack and slot Eskies, washing baskets full of food, Aerogard, tents, camp chairs and numerous bags of stuff to assist with every possible situation.
The kidlets, seasoned travellers by now, strap in, sit back, and we get cruising. Their excitement level peaks somewhere around Shepparton, when the bouncing and countdown of kilometres begin (”How far to go? How long until we see our Nonna?”).
Arriving makes for two very excited little campers and one grandmother beaming with joy. We don’t mess around when it comes to setting up camp. The tent is up, sleeping bags unrolled, and camp chairs popped open within an hour or so of parking the car.
It’s ridiculously easy. I’m not sure why gramping ever seemed liked an idea fraught with trepidation. An extra set of very willing hands to keep the kidlets entertained makes setting up the tent a very simple process. Mainly because the Chop and the Bump don’t want to ‘help’ quite so much.
It’s lovely, having my mum camping with us. She takes the kidlets for a walk to explore the campground, and the Most Amazing Man and I get to chill out for a while, just the two of us. We relax, listening to the occasional murmur of people and the birds tweeting around us.
Time slides away so quickly when you’re camping. The afternoon fades away rapidly. We sit and chat for a while. The kids begin to get absolutely feral, so, after spraying them quite liberally with the Aerogard Odourless Protection, we walk down to the river. It’s not really bushwalking. But there are trees and bugs for the boy–child and dozens of gumnuts and rocks for the girl–child. She is a bower bird, but not just for all things blue. She collects little bits and pieces, anything that takes her interest. Her Nonna and the Most Amazing Man and I ferret things away in our pockets for her, keeping her treasures safe until she forgets about them (which usually takes about twenty minutes, or until something else catches her attention).
Then there’s UNO– many games of UNO, as predicted. There’s also Monopoly on the iPad, which kind of feels like cheating. But I really don’t think we could have fit the Monopoly box in the car. We light the Mortein Citronella candle Outdoor and he ambience is beautiful. Everyone looks better by candle light. It smells divine and there isn’t a moth or mozzie for miles. In fact, the kidlets not only don’t get eaten alive by mozzies, they don’t receive one single bite.
Dinner is a fairly simple affair. Because, much to my mother’s continual dismay, the kidlets are fussy eaters. As am I. So we cook sausages and have sausage sandwiches and, for the actual grown-ups (not me, obviously), there is salad.
After that, we have a campfire. Because it’s not quite authentic, camping without a campfire. We also have marshmallows, for the same reason. The kidlets love the idea of marshmallows cooked on a campfire, but not so much the reality. They end up eating them ’raw’. I prefer mine with a charcoal crust.
What with the sugar they’ve just ingested and the absolute novelty of camping in general and gramping in particular, we don’t even bother putting the kidlets to bed until we’re ready to sleep, too.
Waking up to spreading sunlight and birds tweeting is entirely peaceful. Only slightly less so when it’s combined with the excited early morning chatter of small children.
I thought yesterday went quickly. Today disappears even faster. I feel as though I’ve only just woken up properly by the time we begin packing up.
Pulling down a campsite is a weird thing. It’s been a living space for almost 24 hours– a family space. Somewhere to eat and sleep and laugh. Twenty minutes later, and it’s bare ground again. Apart from the peg holes hidden beneath the grass, it looks like we haven’t been there at all.
I hug my mum goodbye and there’s that sadness that’s always there when I leave her. I know I’ll see her again soon enough, and I talk to her on the phone all the time… but it’s just not quite the same.
Gramping has been entirely more awesome than I thought it would be. And the whole process is much, much less stressful than driving to Sydney and back for the weekend. Camping with the grandparents– 10/10. Would gramp again.
For more on how to enjoy gramping with the people you love, visit the Gramping Association, and sign up for the chance to win* one of seven Gramping Adventures for the whole family. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway on RRSAHM– there is a stack of cool stuff to be won.
*terms and conditions apply, visit www.grampingassociation.com.au for details.