My husband and I purchased a 20+-year-old camper van with the name Vanessa stencilled on both sides. I had never named a vehicle before but since this one came with a name I thought I should use it. For that reason, I always refer to her as Vanessa.
Our plan is to do some travelling in a compact vehicle with enough creature comforts for us to live in it for weeks at a time. We have a small fridge, a two burner stove, dinette benches that can be used as two single beds or folded together for one large one plus indoor plumbing. Who could ask for more!
Our first trip was to be to a three day Gospel Music Celebration. In preparation, we drove her to a lake an hour from home, where we have a larger RV parked. This way we could make sure everything was in working order and have the larger unit to fall back on if needed.
We arrived in the evening so slept in the 5th wheel. The next morning, our 9-year-old triplet granddaughters came over for a visit. My son and his family have an RV in the same park and we enjoy frequent visits from the girls.
They had seen inside Vanessa once before, but it had been months ago and they wanted another look. Once inside, the girls took their time exploring and were fascinated with everything they saw. One even said she’d be very happy if she could have Vanessa for her house!
They went back to their trailer for lunch and a short while later one returned with her dad. It seems she told grandad she’d like to sleep in Vanessa and he had said maybe she and I could have a girl’s sleepover sometime. She had taken him at his word and packed a couple of bags to bring back!
My son wanted to check with me to make sure this was OK. Although it was news to me, I agreed and soon she was back with everything she’d need for the night. I’m thinking she wanted to bring her belongings over before I had a chance to change my mind!
Miss K put her bags in Vanessa and went off to find her sisters. I put a chair in the sunshine and sat down to start reading a new book. Before long there were two girls standing before me. Miss S also wanted to sleep in Vanessa. I thought, “This will work if I convert the twin beds into one big one.” The first night sleeping in Vanessa was supposed to be with my husband but I couldn’t refuse these two excited girls. Their sister showed no interest in this sleepover so there should be room for all three of us. My husband was fine with having the big trailer all to himself!
The girls each chose the single bed they wanted. This was not how it was supposed to go. I told them we’d all sleep together on the big bed. They responded by telling me they both kicked and I wouldn’t want to be with them!
To show them how much room we would have, my husband, transformed the beds as they excitedly watched. The three of us lay down and I thought this was a positive sign. Then one said, “Have you made a decision, because I have?” The other quickly said, “Me, too.” Just like that, I was voted out of my own van!
I texted my daughter-in-law, certain she would say I needed to be with them. They would have to agree if their mom said so. Imagine my surprise when their mom said she didn’t see a problem with it.
We were in a gated, secure family RV park so safety shouldn’t be an issue. Still, shouldn’t they have someone to protect them or comfort them if they became afraid? It was hours before bed time so plenty of time for them to change their minds.
The remaining sister headed off for a sleepover with a cousin and these girls asked me what was for supper. They played in Vanessa and referred to us as their neighbours who had invited them for dinner. After dinner, they invited us to come over for a visit and to play Snakes & Ladders. We were told, “Just knock on the door and we’ll let you in.” After two games it was time for lights out and the neighbours were sent home.
We left Vanessa’s outside light on as well as the one for the big trailer. The girls knew they could come and get us any time during the night. They were very brave and didn’t think this would be necessary. To them, this was an exciting adventure and there was nothing to fear.
After a long night for my husband and me, we heard the happy chatter of the girls as they approached our door just after 7 am. They told us they’d had the best sleep ever. I wish we could have said the same.
What we did have was the knowledge we’d created some very special memories for our granddaughters. They had tried something new and loved every minute of it. Instead of letting our fears squash their experience we trusted (and prayed a lot) and ended up with very happy campers.