While out on the road, Darwin and I were able to meet up with two really good friends and their two kids. We spent two weeks with them exploring Joshua Tree National Park, Salton Sea, and The International Banana Museum, amongst various other places. It was neat to be around to small children during these two weeks. Yes, it seems children can be demanding of your attention and in need of everything but it was awesome to see them experience the world, at times having no fear but only wonder.
We joined the family for Emma and Finn’s first camping trip in Joshua Tree and I think I was more excited than the kids. The adults, of course, set up camp while the kids explored close by. Inadvertently they began picking up trash while playing in the sand. They collected numerous bottle caps and pieces of plastic. Just recently I wrote a post about doing a similar task and was outraged I had to do it. The kids, however, found this to be like a treasure hunt, trying to find the most caps.
We all watched as a small Jack-Rabbit investigated us from a close but safe distance. The kids were amazed, Emma was even squealing with excitement, “he’s so cute!” Finn discovered a dung beetle and was entertained by the task of trying to get him to walk on a stick. The rocks in the section of Joshua Tree known as “Jumbo Rocks” proved to be nothing but a natural playground for the kids. Finn loved to climb and run a small distance ahead of us trying to tackle the biggest of the rocks to show his strength. Emma was right behind him knowing no limits not even expressing any fear until she had to come back down.
Sitting around the fire that night the adults took on the task of protecting Finn from the mesmerizing lull of the fire. Like most small children he wanted to touch, poke, and feed the flames. We enjoyed the classics hot dogs (chili dogs for the adults) and S’mores for dessert. Something about that thick gooey mess of sugar is still sickeningly beautiful for me (even though I can only get down one in my older years). After dinner, the kids got in their PJs becoming intoxicated by adventure, sugar, and the soothing flicker of the campfire. They romped around in the tent before going to bed under the eerie haze of a blue glow stick.
Darwin and I enjoyed being an Uncle and Aunt these last weeks. I honestly couldn’t get enough cartoons, Legos, tag, and rock collecting. Kids are brutally honest and naturally curious about everything. I am not sure if I would enjoy living in the world of children full time but visiting that world was truly a treat.
(Finn & Emma Exploring A Hidey-Hole)
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