Jack’s first camping trip | personal

One day in early April, Jack was helping me re-arrange the garage, and he was rather intrigued to learn that I have a sleeping bag. This led to lots of questions, and then (finally) the one I was secretly hoping for: “Daddy, do you think we could go camping sometime?” After an incredibly rainy May, I was thrilled to have an open evening, and a great forecast. So, in the far-off land called the backyard, we set up our tent, and I even went through the motions of getting the bedding ready (knowing full well it was a formality!). We chopped up some kindling, and lit a fire, all the while a supportive mother and inquisitive sister smiled and waved sweetly from the living-room windows.

We had a blast. Burned some marshmallows. Ate some giant s’mores. Put some more wood on the fire. We watched the sun set, and then the planet and stars come out in the gloaming. Then, as the darkness closed in, the noises seemed to intensify. From the freight trains, to the neighbor’s dogs, then the coyotes across the valley, it seemed like Jack’s eyes got bigger and bigger, and his little chin quivered** into turbo mode. After reading with our headlamps, and tucking him into my huge mummy of a sleeping bag, I knew that all of the flashlights in the world weren’t going to make him feel safe enough to stay for the night. So by 9:55, he was safely tucked in his ‘real’ bed, and I was left with a couple of mosquito bites, some photographs, and some great memories. Hopefully, there will be many more of these trips to come as he gets older and more adventurous. I just hope that I don’t get less adventurous as I get older:)

I really am enjoying this thing they call Fatherhood.


**the chin quivering…it’s a Bamber family trait. Somewhere next to where I inherited the love of cheesy jokes and 20/10 vision, there’s a gene that’s destroyed our family line’s chances of ever being a secret agent or a poker player: the quivering chin…our “tell.” It seems that about 1/3 of the time that we’re awake: sometimes when we’re nervous, sometimes when we’re concentrating, and sometimes when we’re just giving Mom that puppy-dog look…that our chins seem to jump up and down about 4 times per second. Full disclosure here…


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  • Billie J DotyWhat a great father/son experience. I love that you did this for him. He will always remember.ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy MoncriefLove this post!ReplyCancel

  • Billie J DotySuper Father’s Day story, John.ReplyCancel

  • Pat Arnoldwhat a wonderful daddy! I am so thankful little Jack has you! love you all.ReplyCancel

  • Stephenne HardingThis is fantastic and when Jack (and John) are ready, Aunt Stephenne is happy to facilitate Montana camping trips!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Swafford VanderwallWhat sweet memories you are creating with him! I thank God for you and the example you are to so many! ReplyCancel

  • Linda Hafer Blevinsany of us at church know from your storie of your children that you take fatherhood both as delightful and an awesome responsibility…you will always enjoy the adventure and the laughter and tears are so inter-related…one of God’s Blessings. Thank you for being such a dedicated father.ReplyCancel

  • Sue HardingSome day you can add story telling—mythology of the constellations and coyote tells to the adventure. What memories!ReplyCancel


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