If at First You Don’t Succeed…

After The Great Camping Fiasco of 2013, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try camping as a family again. Ever. It’s not that I don’t love the outdoors. I do. But I also love a firm mattress, soft sheets, running water, and not having to choose between getting up in the pre-dawn dark to go outside and accidentally piss all over my ankles or staying in my warm(ish) sleeping bag and continue sleeping with a distended bladder bigger than my head. But Dan loves to camp and I love Dan, ergo… we camp and I make the best of it.

We had reservations this weekend at a state campground that featured flush toilets, showers, and it turned out, even a dishwashing sink and a parking spot only 15 meters from our campsite. We were feeling optimistic, considering Sweet Pea had become an excellent sleeper over the past month or so. In fact, she was doing so well, we forgot to be scared to mention it. We might have even bragged about it.

It was with hope and promise in our hearts that we gathered our camping gear on Thursday night, in preparation for a quick getaway right after work on Friday. We turned out the light early and settled in for a night of restful sleep. Until we were awakened by Sweet Pea’s cries at about midnight. From midnight to 1 or so she wailed. Unaccustomed to being awake when we should have been sleeping, Dan and I volleyed nasty remarks instead of lovingly passing the Baby Tylenol and a fresh diaper.

We awoke on Friday, groggy and apologetic, unsure if it still made sense to launch our camping mission on such a bad night of sleep.  Even after drinking a large cup of coffee and receiving a sweet card Dan hand-delivered to me at work (I know, right!?), I wasn’t sure we should go. I came home from work by 4 and hopped on the treadmill. For a whole mile. I just wasn’t feeling it. I then spent about 10 minutes doing abs, which was eight and a half minutes too long, given the fact that only now, four days later, is it possible to tolerate the slightest pressure to my abdominal area without flinching.

After my lame workout, I took a hurried shower and raced to pick Sweet Pea up from daycare, my to-do list swirling in my head. I was suddenly obsessed with everything that wasn’t complete from needing a gray and white chevron rug in my office which will eventually (hopefully) become a baby’s room, to filing the mail that came in the weeks after Sweet Pea’s birth (I know, it’s embarrassing),  to removing a load of laundry from the wash before it got moldy. Also, there was the stuff that needed to go to Goodwill plus the completely out of control junk drawer to organize.

Dan convinced me that all the things on my To Do list could wait, we stuffed my Jetta full of gear, and off we went. Bolting straight from work, in reality, meant backing out of the driveway by 7:30pm.  As we drove into the canyon,  the sun dipped behind the mountains and the bright blue sky faded to light purple, then gray, then dark blue, and finally black. As daylight faded, so so did the intensity of my need to do all the things.

When we arrived at the campsite, with the glow of the moon and our headlamps our only light, my singular focus was on setting up the tent and getting Sweet Pea tucked in for the night. No longer were my undone tasks begging for my attention.

We poured boxed wine into our camping-fancy plastic stemless wine glasses, sat down in our camp chairs, and enjoyed the quiet while Sweet Pea slept in the tent a few feet away.  I told Dan I was really glad we’d come after all. It felt good to escape my normal routine. Really, I love the outdoors.


Although the ginger-coconut scented liquid soap in the park bathroom didn’t hurt anything.

My two happy campers

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