Being the father of two young (and often very crazy) boys, I want them to have different experiences and adventures. Sometimes it means simply schlepping them to a tee-ball game on a Thursday afternoon and others times it means buying and pitching a tent in the great outdoors.
As a child of parents that worked long hours to make sure there was a roof over our heads and food on the table (my parents owned a Thai carryout and a 24-hour convenience store, so they were always working), I do not recall many vacations or away weekends. (To this day, both of my parents work weekends and are the hardest working people that I know.) Luckily, I have more flexibility with my schedule.
In the last few months, I have taken the position that the Siri family needs to be more “outdoorsy.” Keep in mind that, prior to this decision, I had slept outdoors a total of two nights in my life. My idea of being “outdoors” usually involves a sand wedge or a running trail. However, camping appealed to me. I have always imagined myself being one with nature. Still, various questions ran through my head: How much food would I have to bring? What if it rains? How would I charge my iPhone?
Being the overly neurotic attorney-type that I am, I took a six-hour course from REI intended for back-country camping, where you would have to bring your food supplies, carry them on your back and hike to find water and a place to stay. I bought a tent and put it up more than once in my backyard to make sure I could it when the time came. I was thoroughly prepared for a couple of nights of car camping outside of Frederick.
So we set out on our little adventure and met up with another couple (two former attorneys turned professors) who also have two children. From Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, we spent more time talking and relaxing than checking email or boxscores.
I figured I would charge my phone in my car to allow me to stay connected with the rest of the world. But in a previously unimaginable turn of events, I let the batteries of my iPhone die out and simply left the phone in my car. Anything that was truly pressing could wait until Sunday. For the first time in a long time, I was disconnected from work and, in some ways, the pressures of life. It was me, my wife, my kids, good friends.
I spent several hours making sure that the camp fire was properly maintained. I lost several games of war to my oldest son but was victorious in a game of hearts against the professors. And while we only spent two nights away, I felt more refreshed than I have after a weeklong vacation (where I had my iPhone charged and at the ready the entire time).
There used to be a time before emails and iPhones when attorneys would leave the office and be unavailable for a period of time. I think I reclaimed that feeling, even just for a little while.