I planned this weekend to be magical and full of memories ..
I reserved a campsite on the northern shores of Lake Michigan.. planning weeks in advance. We were going to be able to watch the sun set over the great lake while sitting at our campfire… enjoying all of our favorite campfire foods… and just relax.
Let’s just say that it didn’t exactly go according to plan.
When we arrived at our campground… so excited… the first thing we did?
..was drive through a massive cloud of Midge flies….
I am a native of Michigan. I have been camping all of my life.. in all 4 seasons. And I had never experienced Midge flies.
Well at least not… “clouds” of Midge flies. You see? The smoke puffs we thought we had seen on our drive in … along the beautiful Lake Michigan shore line?
That wasn’t smoke. It was millions of tiny.. “Mosquito look alike” flies.
As soon as we passed through the third cloud of bugs, we saw that the campground host had posted signs that the Midges were harmless and would only last 2 weeks.
BUT… that didn’t help us at all. Our reservations were for this weekend.
They also offered to honor our reservations at a campground further inland… safe from the Midges.
But further inland meant AWAY from the sounds of crashing waves… away from sunsets on the great lake..
Nope… inland was not in the “magical” plans.
The signs did say harmless... sooo….
We set up camp.
My dad always told me, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”.. and then he would laugh and say.. “But you’d be surprised what you can live through.”
We did NOT get a single bite from a Midge… but they love to fly into your eyes, nose, and mouth. They rested on anything solid.. in a cloud type coating. They landed in our drinks if they didn’t have covers, our food while we tried to cook.. and.. we finally resorted to covering our mouths so we could breathe (and talk).
But when the Ranger came by to make sure we had seen the offer to move inland.. we were stubborn.
We tried all the usual tricks.. citronella candles… all natural bug repellent… deep woods bug repellent … deep woods bug fogger… manually killing them by the hundreds… nothing helped. They filled our camper.. made a layer of little bug armies covering the tents and tables.
They weren’t hurting us… but they were making us crazy.
The first night was cloudy… hiding any magical sunsets.. and the Midges drove us inside … so NO magical campfire treats. We even ended up driving to town to eat in an environment free of things flying into our mouths.
But our family was NOT without humor. “Because the Midges have decreed it…” or.. “the Midge cloud has disrupted the satellite connection..” … yes.. our family was still making memories through laughter during this vacation disaster.
The second day was clear… so we trekked up and over the very small hill that separated our campsite full of midges from the beautiful beach on the other side.
And on the other side?
In fact… climbing over that small hill..? We encountered more Midges than ever. Thick clouds of them that we charged through with our mouths covered and our eyes closed. We learned not to bump the pine trees… their nesting grounds..
…and then when we reached the beautiful sandy beach?
But… we could also see the beautiful glow of the sun going down over the great lake. We still had to keep the Midges from landing on us. But it was easier to laugh as we searched for skipping rocks… easier to ignore the flies when we were taking beautiful pictures.
It was easier to enjoy ourselves.. despite the Midge flies… when we were being creative..
…and enjoying life….
I think that sometimes it is so easy to pack it in.. or to hide in our camper.. when life gives us Midge flies. And we were ALL tempted to do that this weekend.
But if we had stayed safe inside the camper… or moved 2 miles away.. to make it easier..
..OR had we turned back when the Midge flies made it absolutely miserable to breathe…
I would never have gotten to take these beautiful photos of my family… We wouldn’t have skipped rocks… and .. we wouldn’t have made some funny but beautiful memories..
… and we will laugh about our Vacation with the Midges for years.
This month was hard for our family.
The journey with Autism is neither clear nor is it easy.
Parenting is hardly ever clear or easy..
But with Autism added in?
Sometimes… I wish I could hide my son away from the world. Away from the disappointments.. away from the failed attempts that we all encounter.. away from the people who doubt that he will succeed…
But if I kept my son… (or my daughter for that matter) … hidden away in the camper..?
Away from the flies of annoyance and frustration… and disappointment? Hidden from failed attempts at success?
If my family had stayed home this weekend to hide away from the flies of Autism, instead of going on the worst vacation spot in Michigan?
Then.. I would have 500 less pictures on my phone right now. And we wouldn’t have made all of these beautiful memories.
So.. my family is gearing up to go over this next hill in the journey of Autism. We will travel it with family by our side.. and laughter in our hearts.
Because you notice the Midges less that way.