Last Friday, my father and I did some catching up as he was on the road, en route to pick up their fifth wheel from winter storage, and he was excited to surprise my mother with it when she got home from school. "We need to get a picture of your Scamp next to it," he says, laughing. (Last year's picture of the Scamp next to their previous camper, a 24' travel trailer, still makes us laugh. Putting the Scamp next to their 33' fifth wheel will likely amuse us for years to come. Even more exciting than the prospect of their behemoth in their driveway, my father was excited to see if his knife-holder-contraption that he built (the Babine Tinkering Gene kicking in) would work the way he envisioned it. (It did--and there's no better feeling than that.)
And as we talked, he mused about how we could fit my sister K2, my brother-in-law M, baby C, and our youngest sister, K3 (plus Marley the black Lab) into their camper. The couch pulls out into a bed and there's enough room for the Pack and Play; and there's probably enough room for a cot for K3.
"C. can sleep with me in the Scamp," I say, something I've been dreaming about doing since I learned of her existence, back when she was the size of a lima bean, back before we knew if she was a girl or a boy. I had dreams of making the front dinette flexible enough to turn back into a bed if need be and I had dreams of taking my little niece or nephew camping. Of course, only a little person would fit on that dinette, so once C. gets older, we may have to negotiate, especially if she inherits the Babine Height Gene (rather than my mother's height). I did learn during this conversation, however, that K3 has flatly refused to sleep in the Scamp with me as long as the cats are in there. That's okay. She probably wouldn't fit up on the front bed anyway. But maybe once C. gets older.
Last night I also got a very funny email from my great-aunt K, replying to the original email I'd sent her about this blog. To which she hit Reply All. It's impossible to fully convey how much I adore this woman, how much she's everything I want to be when I grow up. My parents are heading out to CA this summer to see all the California Babines (or as many of them as possible) and K. wanted to know if we kids were coming. I said we weren't. We went out last year and we just can't afford to go out every year. And since I'm about to cut my yearly salary in half, I'm going to have even less expendable income for long camping trips.
Even as I'm choosing to camp by myself, camping has always been a family thing for us. Both my father's family and my mother's family camped--and once my sisters and I were old enough, my parents decided that it was something they wanted to do with us. And even as my father's thoughts as he went to pick up their camper last weekend involved future plans that would involve the rest of our immediate family--as well as plans for July that would involve the Behemoth and the Scamp caravanning north--it's interesting to see where we'll build family memory's for C's generation. I'm hoping she'll grow up thinking it's cool to sleep in Aunt Karen's tiny little camper with the cats.