Saturday Night Camp Out

Family bed pillow fight

Every Saturday night, my family fills our living room with every couch cushion in the house, wall to wall, and we camp out. We always fall asleep watching a movie we intend to see to the end, though we always fall asleep, and we always wake up and have breakfast back on the big bed. It’s scheduled magic.

I’m back to reading The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections, from the Baby by Nature store.

In her chapter on “Everyday Rituals,” Amanda Blake Soule makes the point that finding time for our creativity and family closeness is often an obstacle. She suggests making appointments and planning for those activities that nurture us.

One of the family rituals she suggests is meeting in bed at the beginning of the day, crayons and paper in hand, to come up with a prioritized list of the day’s activities.

In my family, we start our meeting early.

Once we fit every cushion in the house together around the furniture, like a giant puzzle, we cover it all with a sheet and a king-sized comforter. It looks remarkably like the set up when my children build a fort. We sit on top of and around one another, piled like puppies (including the puppy), have a snack, and watch a movie. Sidney Poitier and Cary Grant are household names; my children know the difference between Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. We watch the same movies over and over, and we talk and sing along. Then, we fall asleep.

It’s completely predictable, and we love this time together. We protect it. We turn down invitations for Saturdays.

Until a few years ago, we all slept in a king-sized bed together. Some of my dearest memories of my children as toddlers are falling asleep between them, listening to them sleep, holding them both in my arms. When we moved, we didn’t have a bedroom big enough for our family bed, so we just have an open invitation to children. But, that doesn’t happen often.

Now, the Saturday night camp out gives us that close time to look forward to every week.

I appreciate the reminder from The Creative Family that we need to schedule that family time before busy tasks. Those family rituals that keep us close are a higher priority than grouting the kitchen or sweeping up stray leaves, though we have those fun chores scheduled this weekend as well.

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” ~Tao Te Ching, quoted in “Everyday Rituals,” The Creative Family

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