We took Max camping for the first time last week. I’d been wanting to do it all summer but kept making excuses not to, I love camping but the prospect of going with a toddler didn’t inspire great confidence in me. Rest is a precious commodity for all parents, would I return feeling rested? Another precious commodity is fresh air and excitement, so we packed our car and set off for Wilsons Promontory. More and more parenting for me is about embracing challenges and not allowing it to dictate the terms and conditions of day to day life.
I have no idea who Wilson is but my gosh he has a spectacular Promontory! I have been before when the weather was a bit average and I could see it’s a place of epic beauty but this particular weekend we were treated to sunshine and blue skies and WP certainly responded well. The Prom juts out the most Southern tip of mainland Australia as if to say “look at me aren’t I pretty”. It’s predominantly bush that is punctuated with white powdery beaches, sweeping granite rock formations and crystal clear water. When we arrived in Melbourne 5 years ago we were practically driven there by every proud Victorian we met.
On entry we searched for a suitable spot to pitch our tent; we bypassed stoner’s corner, the local footy team tour, the family with 53 children and settled for a suitably peaceful alcove. Mrs Under subscribes to the theory ‘if you want something doing properly do it yourself’ and I’m too lazy to even subscribe to a theory so I took Max down to the beach whilst she tried to make things homely. There are beaches and there are beaches and Max has been to beaches but this was his first beach. What I’m trying to say is that when you compare Melbourne’s busy beaches complete with sunburnt tourists and dubious smelling sea with the pure serenity of the The Prom there really is no comparison they are two different things.
The tide was out and the beach which went on and on was deserted but for father and son. Max froze, I thought he must have hurt his foot but when I went to check his face was lit up with joy, he was just taking a moment to soak it all up. He dropped his bucket and spade and charged down the beach, as much as a toddler can charge. He didn’t really seem to know where he was charging he just liked that he could charge without bumping into someone or something.
The sight of this confirmed what I want from my life and for Max’s life. When I go to my happy places, my favourite memories, they all take place in the great outdoors and involve adventure and excitement. You don’t get adventure and excitement in the city, well you do, but most of its illegal. I don’t want Max to have an ordinary upbringing I want it to be extraordinary. Above all else it’s important for me to expose Max to what I would call a ‘real childhood’. That means climbing trees, building dens, making bows and arrows and generally being a boy. I hate the idea of wrapping him in cotton wool removing all potential for adventure and yes a little bit of danger.
It seems that everyone has five year plans these days and aspirations for themselves and their families. What I want is to be surrounded by nature in Tasmania. I want Max to wake up each morning excitedly wondering whether any of the chickens have laid. I want to have a large veggie patch and fruit trees that provide for us. I want a tepee at the bottom of a paddock that can house and nurture Max’s burgeoning imagination and Mum and Dad’s occasional soirees. I want a claw foot bath that we can wallow in and gaze up at the stars. I want a comfy chair on a veranda to sit in and quietly observe Max playing with his little brothers and sisters.
I know that’s a lot of wants and it might sound greedy but that’s my 5 year dream. Do you still dream? What’s yours?
As always linking up with Jess at Essentially Jess