Cozy in our waterproof tent, listening to the wind under the stars, my husband slept outside with our girls and nephew this summer. We were in Northern Michigan at my father-in-law’s lake house, but it would be fun anywhere. They were only in the backyard, but for a three, five and seven-year old, the excitement was equal to being in the middle of the woods.
All you need is a decent tent (our tent is from REI) and a sleeping pad to put under your sleeping bag. You definitely want a real tent, not just a play tent, to keep out the bugs. My husband made sure to include some comforts from home which included a Disney Princess sleeping bag, a blanket from my daughter’s bed, a favorite stuffed pink dog and some books to read by flash light.
The kids were giddy. Hyper. There was a lot of jumping around the tent and falling all over each other. We broke out colorful glow sticks and the kids went outside and twirled around. Then, they got back into the tent and my husband tucked them in for stories.
We realized there was only room for one adult in our two person tent and I was both relieved and a little sad when I kissed them good-night and went back into the house. But, from upstairs, I kept hearing giggles so I crept back out in the dark to join the fun. I peeked in the tent to find three sleepy, excited faces (our nephew had escaped back into the house). My five-year-old proudly reported that she saw Orion’s Belt and the Big Dipper. We opened up the side of the tent and leaned back on our pillows and looked up at the stars. My daughter pointed out the constellations. Then it started to rain.
I would have thought rain was bad in a tent but this tent was completely waterproof. We zipped ourselves up and listened to the rain and wind and it was so much better than any white noise machine! After a few minutes, my husband and five-year-old started snoring so I unzipped the tent, squeezed out, zipped them back in and went back inside the house.
The next day my husband told me that waking up next to his daughters was something close to life changing. He felt an even stronger bond. Being a Mom, I’ve taken a few naps with my kids so I’m not sure how earth shattering it would have been for me. But, then again, there is something about sleeping outside, even if it’s just a few steps from your house, that gives the world a new perspective. The tent is your little haven and you are protecting your kids from the elements. That’s what every day life is all about, but in a tent it’s all the more clear.