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To the young brave-hearts and parents who are winging it…

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

It's friday night, me and young squad, Aobakwe (my 10 year old son) are camping the weekend at our annual #Mommy'sCamp.

I remember the entire campsite was asleep when I took this one, the little lad was fast asleep or so I thought. I switched on the light; slowly unzipped the tent and I heard a small voice "it's not safe at this time of the night out there mommy. Did you see all those green eyes staring at us?!

Rewind to a few hours back before this young Braveheart's realization. We had arrived late at the campsite, just a tad bit before 10pm. Forget that I was driving from Johannesburg at 8:20pm after calling the farm and being told the gate closes 10pm. Wait, wait don't you go judging me about planning. Do you know anything about Scouts and how determined these scouters can be? Yeah, exactly I thought so. Well let me fill you in. We had just bought Aobakwe his first Scouts Campfire Blanky and trust me when I say he was not about to let 2019 close out without him wearing that thing around the campfire. Yes so we had Campfire and Christmas Carols at Scouts the same evening we had to make our way Bela-Bela.

Bela-Bela is, uhm say a rough estimate of 2hr30min drive from Johannesburg, so you can imagine my shock after speaking to the farm owner. Let’s just say I drove safe following distance and made it to the gate at 21:59. I asked him to sleep on the way because he kept asking about “the time I slept alone in Magoebaskloof”. Oh dear, no chance of that happening again dudey, we’d rather pitch our tent on the side of the road and let the adventure begin right there! Shame man I had to calm his nerves and make it sound like an epic adventure, don’t all parents do that? peeps listen, there is no manual book to parenting, we are freaken winging this thing and hope like heaven we are making the right decisions as we go along, so spare me the “oh my gosh you are traumatizing the child” story – we made it on time, okay pumpkins ?! :-)

Driving through from the gate all we could see in the bushes were green eyes staring at us. He was relieved we made it, excited about the adventure but I could see right through his excitement, call it a mother’s instinct, he was terrified and probably thought we are nowhere near safety nor civilization and stories about Magoebaskloof keep popping in his head. I swear I’d say we were surrounded by over 20 pair of green eyes lurking in the bushes and I had no clue what was looking at us. The beauty of appreciating nature at night with no artificial lighting but stars and the moon.

Back to the tent story. Remember he told me it was not safe to get out the tent and reminded me of eyes that lurked and stared at us .. I tell him, “awww dudey what animal would dare come close with you here? None “ I say! He chuckles and softly asks “where are you going and how can I help”..

Me: You wanna help? Awesome, can you zip yourself in the tent and hold that light for mommy real high?!

Him: you sure you’re going to be okay out there?! Promise you’ve done this before!

Of course I lie with a straight face “sweetheart mommy does this all the time, and I always come home in one piece with lots of stories to tell you right?”

“Yeah, cool” – goodness he finally agrees.

I quickly step out, he zips up and puts the light as high as he can. Poor thing, in my head I’m thinking “damnit Lerato, did you even check what animals are in this huge farm?”, at this time I’m snapping away and from this side to that side. The small voice starts again, okay come back now, my hand is tired and I’m scared for you.

I jumped back in the tent, and show him the picture. This is super cool, but wantshosa wena, Tswana for “you scare me”. Gave him a huge hug, chatted for a while about his expectations of this weekend, said our night prayers and good nights. I couldn't sleep, I looked at him for a very long time that night. Thankful for someone that genuinely cares and is not afraid to show he cares. Yes yes I get it, he's a kid, he will care!

How amazing are little people always ready to help though?! I’ve found boy-children to have such an insane intense protective instinct for their mothers and have this brave attitude about them even in times when one can see them terrified. Shame man it was such a heart-warming moment to watch this young champ jump to the opportunity of braving his fear of pitch darkness and lurking eyes to help me out!

Okay okay I promise to be a responsible parent! Guys come on, its adventure!

What an epic adventure the weekend was with all moms and kiddies. This year the kids were familiar with each other and with other mommies so no intros needed there. By morning everyone seemed to have never spent a day away from each other, forget the 364 days in-between last Mommies'Camp and this one.

It rained the entire weekend but we made it memorable for these littlies!

When all is said and done, we shall toast to the night that falls on epic adventures and memories that are created.

"To the people who look at the stars and wish - to the stars who listen and the dreams that are answered

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