After much persuasion, last night I ended up camping in the garden with my youngest son Mitchell. I tried to wriggle out of it with a number of excuses but nothing seemed to work. He just wouldn't give up asking me to sleep in the tent with him! Please Dad... please.... pretty please..I'll do anything for you..... There is only so much a man can take of that accompanied by two big blue eyes looking at you pleading his case.
Yes I am a total push over and I finally agreed.
Well what an adventure it turned out to be. I crawled in the tent by torch light carrying all my kit for the night. I was determined to make sure I knew where my shoes were so that I would be prepared for a little trip to water the flowers in the night if required. I put my clothes neatly in a safe place and in a bag so they wouldn't get damp and finally got in my sleeping bag. It took me ages to zip up it up and excelled at a caterpillar impersonation. Then the air bed went down! Mitchel was beside himself laughing. I tried to blow it up several times whilst lying on it (just lazy!) but it was no good, the air just came rushing out and at one point came out of my nose - lovely! Mitchell said, isn't this great dad, just you and me! I said sure is son. All I could think about was my nice warm bed inside the house.
I finally fixed the air bed and we lay beside each other eating Doritos and talking about his experience last week on Summer camp. As we talked he started to tell me how much he just wants to know more about Jesus and also that he was thinking about being baptised in water. I can't tell you how that made me feel, I was almost in tears as we talked about why he wanted to do it. It made me realise that the most intimate moments that I often long for as a dad with my boys was going to probably going to happen most naturally on their turf, doing what they love to do. Somehow during the chaos and the fun you somehow arrive at a sacred moment in your conversation. A moment that as a dad that you long for, look for, ask for or work for but it arrives very naturally. This was awesome to me and I loved it. There we were Father and son laughing, eating and sharing from the heart in an easy unrushed manner - beautiful.
Come on dad's you know sometimes you always wanted you own dad to do something crazy with you and I bet you would have loved it! Think it through and seize the opportunity when it arrives.
Well, the adventure continued as halfway through the night it bucketed down with rain and it was really noisy. Probably only slept a few hours but the conversation with my boy was well worth it and I have thought about it all day. And yes, I did need to water the flowers, and yes it was pouring, and yes I got a little wet!