I recently spent three days camping with family in the redwoods. We hadn’t enjoyed a family camping trip in years and it was spectacular. Our original plan was to go to Sea Cliff State Beach in Aptos and put our name in the lottery for a spot on the beach. We had never camped there before but have friends that love it. My smart husband decided to check it out on Google Earth. The beach is right outside of your back door, but camping is relegated to pretty much a parking lot. The morning we were set to leave Tommy said, “Why don’t we check and see if we can into the Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Park?” I have a special place in my heart for the place because it’s where I finished writing and then editing my book Miracles and Grace in an Unlikely Place, last year. Tommy set me up in our toy-hauler with the back gate open to the redwoods and the creek running below. The peaceful solitude enabled me to do what I could never have accomplished at home.
The beautiful park that borders the San Lorenzo River is filled with towering redwoods. Metal railings have been installed on the path down to the river so that even my mother, with her bad knee, was able to hike down and enjoy putting her feet in the cool clear water. We stood listening to the sound of the water running over the rocks and enjoying evidence of Gods magnificent handiwork. You could almost picture Him waving His arm around, painting in the beauty. There is no place that makes me feel closer to God than in the redwoods.
My son and grandson have never camped with us and having the added pleasure of adding my mother and my aunt to the group was wonderful. Aunt Joannie will be 70 in October and Mom is 74 but they are both in good shape. They act a lot like little girls when they are together and never fail to make me laugh. They fuss with each other over the silliest things and it is easy to picture them as teenagers arguing over clothing, makeup, and points of view. They are truly young at heart.
We camped a lot when my son Allen was young, but I can’t remember the last time before this trip. It may have been twenty years ago. My grandson Joseph is twelve and he and his father are carbon copies of each other at that age. It totally astounds me how much they are alike. They are gregarious, outgoing, and bullheaded. Like most twelve year olds and fathers, they butt heads. In fact, I believe that the more a child is like his parent, the harder it is for them to get along. Love shines through all of the bickering and they laugh a lot too.
My grandson says the darndest things. He had us in stitches much of the time. I’m a writer and I should have had my tablet and pen with me at all times but I blew it. Now I truly regret it. Being with Joe and seeing how fast he’s grown up reminded me of the things I had forgotten about camping trips with my son. They were wonderful times and I need to make a concerted effort to forge new memories.
The fact that my husband hung out with this clamoring group for three days is a testament to the difference God has made in his life. When I told people about the trip they would say, “Tommy is going too?” Let’s face it; it’s a lot easier to deal with family members’ idiosyncrasies when they are your own family. He was gracious and pleasant and I believe he enjoyed himself too.
There is something beyond measure about enjoying God’s special places with family. I am grateful for the wonderful time we had together and blessed beyond belief. I’m thrilled my husband chose the Santa Cruz RV Park because I believe it was just where we were supposed to be. I can’t wait for the next trip.[