I spent the whole day trying not to feel guilty for enjoying ourselves so much.
Today is March 21, 2020.
We spent the day celebrating a birthday. The moment those years ago when my baby arrived here on Earth. Little did I know what was in store for her.
We spent the day before (after arriving uncertainly) running around like mad outdoors, jumping and climbing and exploring and digging. The kids were in HEAVEN.
We came back and as the temps got lower (it is March, after all, there’s still snow on the ground some places around the state), I started up a fire. We all threw small sticks in there, then roasted marshmallows and hot dogs when the fire burned down to coals.
We were treated to a clear night without the moon to dim the star show. It’s been a long time since I saw so many stars!
Today I got up determined to make the most of the day. After all, around the world, there were people stuck in their homes, maybe having limited access to food or services.
We had been given a great gift and opportunity to be able to go on a camping trip together.
I crawled out of bed first before the kids, and made a fire as quickly as I could in the frosty air. As the kids got up and came to huddle all wrapped up by the fire, I reminded the kids that it was a BIRTHDAY and we all had donuts and hot chocolate to kick off the morning.
(If you knew me, you’d know what sort of treat this really is, I generally limit sweets and treats).
Then instead of lingering around the fire, I made snacks and lunch and threw it in a bag, put boots on the kids and off we went.
First we went on a hike….but found that the wind was coming out of the north a bit and made things pretty chilly. We managed to get in about two hours on the hike, stopping often to snack and to climb trees and pick up sticks.
When we got too cold, we jumped back into the truck and headed for a different local spot I knew of, in the hopes that we’d find a fun place to place sheltered from the wind.
We were only somewhat successful, but the kids still made the most of it. They ran and played for close to two more hours, and we ate many snacks.
A really great snapshot of the day is this memory I have of my daughter running down this steep hill to me. I hadn’t wanted her to climb up and run down like the boys because I was afraid that she’d fall.
She wanted to climb it and run…and it was her birthday after all. How could I deny her?
Imagine my surprise as she came flying down the hill, delighted giggles in her wake, hair flying.
She had no problem running down the hill, albeit a bit behind her brothers.
She was big enough, and ready for the challenge.
All I could do was sit back and watch her.
A little later, we retired back to our campground. it was still windy and cold, but the sun was bright. We lit up some candles on some cupcakes and sang to my girl.
Then we found a local trail running from our campground to a neighbor a mile or two away. Without any goal or destination in mind, we grabbed the snack pack and headed off exploring.
Three hours later we were back, having maybe traversed a mile of the trail. We stopped to play in the dirt, to play war with some sticks, and then to just bask in a warm sunny spot protected from the wind.
Another evening of a fire, hot dogs, marshmallows, burning stuff.
The kids called it the best birthday ever.
Social distancing at its best.
Yes, there are people who would shame us for leaving home to come on this trip. They might call me irresponsible, or part of the problem.
At the time of writing this post, we are not on lockdown. There is no law that I am breaking, taking my kids camping. Any social distancing policies are voluntary.
I haven’t done anything wrong.
I’m really sensitive to criticism of any kind, even if it isn’t well-founded. I almost took down the post from yesterday, where I shared that I took my family camping instead of hiding at home in our house.
People are so negative….and I know that so much of that emotion is driven by fear. But I had to see it come out in such an irrational manner.
Let me tell you about our day. We didn’t talk to anyone else. We stayed more than 10 feet away from anyone else we saw. We didn’t touch a single surface shared with someone outside of our family, unless you can count the dirt on the ground.
No activity centers.
No ice cream parlors (sad face).
No playgrounds or play equipment.
No sharing of toys or any other item.
We stayed away from people almost completely, and spent the entire day out in the open air.
Are these people who might shame me for this, the same people ordering food from local businesses and then going inside and waiting for 15 minutes for their food? The same people queued up to get into Costco to buy toilet paper? The same people sitting shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors at the Urgent Care center trying to find out if the sore throat they have is actually Coronavirus?
If my family is infected with the virus, if we are asymptomatic, if we could pass on the virus unknowingly, we certainly didn’t do anything close to it today.
People do have a point, about staying home to avoid infecting other people, or passing on germs to others who might be vulnerable to it.
But at the same time, I don’t agree that there is only one way to do this.
The other thing I am wondering about is when the swell of US patriotism is going to arrive. Remember 9/11? Remember how people were all singing kumbaya in unison, hanging the stars and stripes on every house, pole, business, building, dog house?
Now we’ve got people posting garbage on Facebook and using their free time to poke their noses in other people’s business.
I’m journaling daily about my family’s life in a world freaking out about a pandemic. You can get caught up with all my posts here: Coronavirus Daily Blog.
Emily Anderson is a mother of three children, all under the age of 10. Located in the Pacific Northwest of the US, Emily is a mom and part-time blogger, jumping in front of the computer when the kids are sleeping. She started this blog in April of 2019 and is proud that the blog is now paying for itself. If you want to know about her journey as a blogger, check out out her personal digital journal or her post about failing her way to blogging success.