Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Family's Camping Tale

In April my family went camping.   I looked so forward to this weekend, it held promises of quality time and memories. In my quest to chase, chase what matters I was filled with anticipation of time with my family.

My husband did the planning, most of the shopping, and a lot of the packing...because he usually does the planning for trips, but also because I re-injured my knee and was barely able to walk.  He had taken the day off to finish things. We planned on leaving soon after I got home from work and the kids came home from school. We don't usually leave when we plan and this time was not exception. My husband kept saying "Come on we need to leave so we can set up the tent before dark."

We drove into the state park camping area about 7 PM Thursday evening. As we drove into the area,  there was a big sign with the name of the state was the perfect picture opportunity...I could capture a memory forever. My husband reluctantly allowed the photo op, but said "hurry, I want to set up the tent before dark."  Once we entered the park, we had to drive around looking for the perfect camping spot.  Driving around we noticed most people had RVs and we even wondered if tent camping was acceptable.  While driving around, my husband grew concerned, because he wanted to set up the tent before dark. We finally picked our spot.  We were all anxious to set-up, start a fire, roast hot dogs, and have s'mores. During the unloading of the truck my sweet husband surprised me with a potty tent.  (This surprise goes back to a previous camping trip, but that, that is another story and will not be told on this blog.)  It was such a sweet surprise, I almost felt bad for picking a site close to the camp bathrooms. However, it was very hard to use with a knee injury.

Quickly, we realized our expectations about our evening would not be met. We had another surprise during the unpacking of the truck.  The brand new, got it for Christmas in 2012, only used once in our backyard tent was still in our attic and we were stuck with a canopy.  (The canopy and tent look similar packed away).

In my attempt to not have a panic attack and lighten the mood, I said "Hey, remember that time we went camping and you forgot the tent?"  We do this often when things happen. One of my husband's favorites is, "Do you remember the time you backed into the garage door?"   Yes, yes I do.  At some point these messes will give us something to laugh about.

My husband built a fire, lit a lantern, and drove to the nearest town to purchase a tent (an hour away...that is 1 hour there and back, plus time to purchase new tent....that is approximately 2.5 hours).  The girls and I would hang out by the fire ...however, the fire.... it died.   I tried to keep it going, but I am no fire starter.  My mom assisted via face time with the fire, my oldest daughter demo'd mad skills in lighting a match ( I could not light the match), but yet that fire would not roar.

Where's the fire?
Knowing how bad my man felt for this packing mishap, I tried to stay positive....for his sake, the kids, and for the promise of quality time and memories.  Boy, was this gonna be a memory!!  ( this staying positive thing was hard!!)

With no fire to sit around I decided we could unpack the camp, even with my bum knee.  I looked around the covered picnic area only to see HUGE spiders in all four corners.  These were so big, I was a little fearful. I also imagined waking up to words written in the spider's big as they were these spiders had reminded of Charlotte from Charlotte's Web.  I confess the frustration of the situation was building much faster than the camp or fire.

We decided just to sit in our chairs until my husband got back.
Longest. Wait. Ever.
The girls and I talked about lessons we could learn from this.  Talked about supporting David even though we all were frustrated, tired, and hungry.We talked about choosing to have good attitudes even when things don't go as expected.

When David came back, he got the fire going again (the wood was wet that's why it was not lighting), set up our new tent, and  began to organize the camp site.  Everyone's stress level was roaring louder than the fire and the june bugs were everywhere!  It was was not the evening of quality time and memories I had expected.

We got settled and went to bed in our brand new tent.  After a good nights rest and coffee by the fire the next morning the situation seemed much funnier.

We did have a great Saturday.  I knew this trip held some promise of quality time and memories.   We hung out together and we each spent one on one time with our kids.  During our camping weekend my girls thought  mommy's limp was the funniest thing ever, they called it the "mommy dance".  They like to show me this dance often.  They demonstrate their best mommy like limp and say "oooowwww".... always much more dramatic than I ever did it. And we were all mesmerized by the deer we saw Friday evening....which we would have been unaware of had my husband not gone to buy a new tent....he drove by them on the way out to purchase it.

They loved seeing all the deer. 

Saturday we packed up and headed home...after the girls participated in an Easter egg hunt the state park provided.  This day was a little stressful as well,  there is something about that tween age, a mom with a bum knee, a tired 6 year old, and a dad that did most of the work that spells trouble. Fuses ran short, instructions weren't followed, and parents got impatient.

Despite not having a tent and some stress, I do believe this camping trip was a success. We did have quality time, we did chase what matters, we made memories.  These messes, these molehills (that feel like mountains)....they are what memories are made of.

I hope to make many more memories and messes with this crew of mine.

The new tent.

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