We are off to Devon on Sunday to a family camp we’ve been attending for the last two years. Our first visit was in August 2013 when my son was six months old. Fried and sleep-deprived, my husband and I felt as if we were in paradise: we were fed delicious nourishing meals three times a day; we didn’t have to think about shopping, washing, or any other practicalities; there was some childcare support; and there was space for us as adults to share our struggles and joys. The day we left the camp we had one dream only: to return to Embercombe!
The camp is on a beautiful land with woods, a peaceful lake and huge gardens where a team of volunteers grows fruit and vegetables, and tends bee hives. Apart from the natural beauty of this place, the biggest draw for me is the space to explore deeply our experiences of parenthood.
My favourite part of the camp is the morning circle where fifty families come together to sing and greet each other. The part I feel anxious about is sleeping in a yurt with young children. Although we have a wood-burner and a fireguard, I fret about children getting cold in the early hours.
I still look forward to the camp though.
During this stay, I decided to switch off the external world completely. I will not use my phone and surrender to the stillness of this place. My intention for this camp is to spend the whole week enjoying my family, to be fully present to them and to myself. My prayer is to reconnect with the Mother earth and get nurtured by all the support that will be available. I hope I will return home more grounded and present.
Each time I go to this camp, I harbour deep desires:
- to become a better parent;
- to be gentler with myself when I don’t get something right;
- to accept that at any given time I’ve been doing the very best I could with the emotional resources I had at my disposal;
- to grow as a person, as a mother and as a wife.
It’s a journey. A life-long journey. As soon as we ‘master’ one stage of parenting, our children grow out of it. And we grow with them. There is nowhere to get to. Enjoy the ride!