Heid: Disconnect / Reconnect

As I type this, I’m snuggled in a sleeping bag next to gently-snoring Charlie, listening as the wind rushes pretty aggressively at the pine trees just outside our tent. Daddy and John have hopped in the car to drive a mile or so up the road to an unlit meadow so they can admire the stars.
By Jess Heid john's mom works

By Jess Heid
john’s mom works

We’ve spent the past several days camped at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with a number of my relatives from my dad’s side of the family. It’s our first camping excursion with the kids, and while my husband and I are pretty avid outdoors people and quite competent even in the most rustic of settings, we’re in agreement that doing it with kids makes us feel like we’ve never camped before. It’s as new for us as it is for them!

I made a conscious decision before we left for this vacation that I was going off the grid completely for one week. Holding my iPad right now is my first brush with internet technology in over 48 hours – and I’m not even connected until I stop by the general store for their free wifi tomorrow morning!

It’s been amazing to spend time in such a beautiful setting with my family. It’s been awesome to watch John’s reactions to seeing the desert we drove through to get here, the awesome dirt and rocks he can play with, and of course “the great big hole” that’s only a few minutes’ walk from our campsite.

But maybe the most remarkable thing is just taking this time, unplugged, to be with my family. The first night, when my husband and I came to the tent to go to sleep, we found Charlie tucked in with an extra blanket. When we asked John about it the next morning, he said, “Charlie told me he was cold so I covered him up!” And like the studious watcher he is, John had only tucked Charlie in as far up as his chest, with the sides of the blanket snugly tucked in so he could still breathe.

And tonight as we sat around the propane burner (you do what you can in a fire ban) Charlie looked at his big brother, giggled, and said “Brobra!” which after several recurrences I will safely call his first word. And had we not all been snuggled around the “fire” for warmth, I might have missed the grin John had on his face that his baby’s first word was “brother.”

I was a little nervous about camping with the kids. Would Charlie do ok sleeping on a pad next to me instead of in a crib? Would John adjust to the changing environment or would it start a downward spiral of difficult behavior? But in fact our children have been amazing. We’re all dirty, a little sun and wind exhausted, but having a blast.

And when the big boys come back from their stargazing adventure, we’ll cuddle in tight for a good, well-earned sleep, and see what tomorrow has in store for our little family.

Vacation is a beautiful thing. Disconnect with the world, reconnect with your family, and live happily ever after.

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  • Norma Garris

    Love Ms. Heid’s posts!

  • JD

    Great story! Where are the pictures?

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