For the longest time I couldn't figure it out.
I work very hard so my family does not end up sleeping in the woods under canvass, only to intentionally leave a perfectly good home to sleep in the woods under canvass.
My wife grew up camping. Her family often headed to the wilds of our glorious province to commune with nature, to talk to wildlife, to pee on a tree.
My family, on the other hand, never went camping. Not even once. We would do these annual marathon two-week vacations that covered just slightly less distance than Jupiter's path around the sun, but we never went to a campground just to hang out for a couple days.
The Missus used to do it all the time, so after we wed, guess who started to go camping?
We would often go with some close friends and when it was just the four of us, camping was basically a big two-day party.
OK, that I liked. I was not too keen with sleeping in a tent like some ground-dwelling savage, but it was part of camping.
Like they say, happy wife, happy life.
Our friends and us started having kids at the same time and camping took on a new dimension.
When the kids were little and they dirty and tired and hungry and screaming I thought I must be demented for doing this, but happy wife, happy life.
When kid No. 2 arrived we did one camping trip in a tent and after spending 10 hours loading the truck, unloading the truck and setting up camp, I decided this was not going to happen again.
So we bought a tent trailer and camping was much better – except for the rain that is.
It seemed every time we even thought about loading the trailer, the heavens would open up with a torrential rain akin to the days of Noah.
It could have been hot for weeks on end, but as soon as we headed out camping – whoosh - rain, rain and more rain.
However, by now the kids were getting older and they absolutely loved camping.
I was not about to put an end to some quality family time, so we spent many a summer's day living outside in the pouring rain.
But the kids really didn't care as long as they were camping.
I must admit, at first I really did not see the value in spending all that time, money and effort to sleep in a woodland realm, but the more my children enjoyed camping the more the value of such excursions became clear.
Smart woman my wife.
We have been camping with our friends at least once a summer for close to 30 years. Our children are adults now, but they still want to go camping with the 'old folks' which I must admit is pretty cool.
We recently went on our annual trip with our friends and only one child was not able to make it.
It is a lot different camping with adult children, and a lot less effort. The kids are like cousins so they always have fun together, and we older folk can relax by the fire once again without having to chase little ones to and fro all weekend.
However, on this most recent trip one thing did remain the same: the rain.
And by rain I am not talking about a sprinkling here and there. We did get some off-and-on light rain, but it was the torrential downpour of apocalyptic proportions that kept us huddled under a large tarp.
Over a two-day camping trip it rained buckets, cats and dogs and whatever other cliche you can think of three times.
Everything felt kind of damp and some things were downright soaked, but we were having such a good time no one cared.
So what if it rains, so what if it's cold. What matters is family, friends, fun and lifelong memories.
Now if we could just do something about the insects...
Copyright 2016, Darren Handschuh