You should’ve seen Ben yesterday. He was in his element.
We finally got on the road to go camping, and I look over at him as we drive away from the house and he has an enormous grin on his face while he says, “It’s a beautiful day, drivin’ my truck with my family, listening to country music, goin’ camping. LOVE this!”
It is one of those things that I guess we’ve both dreamt about: going on camping trips with our family. I don’t know why. I guess I just feel like there’s something about it that feels really American and wholesome.
I don’t know why I feel like that, though, because most of my childhood memories of camping involve the packing and unpacking process that goes along with it.
While “American and wholesome” sounds all “rainbows and unicorns” to me, that wasn’t the scene on Saturday morning when Ben and I thought we could pack for our big, jolly 24 hour camping trip.
It was more like me sweating bullets because of the amount of stuff we were bringing, knowing that if you pack it…you will then need to unpack it when you get home: clothes, bathing suits, swimmies, towels, bug spray, sunscreen, paper towels, skillet, gas stove, cork screw, cutlery, paper plates, cups, sleeping bags, mattress pads, tents, pillows, blankets, folding chairs, lantern, Swiss Army knife, coolers, ice packs, folding table, bikes, helmets, spatulas, toilet paper.
We had booked the site for 2 nights, but got nervous about it and decided to just do 1 night instead. The problem with camping for 1 night is that it’s the same packing job whether you’re doing 1 night, or 3. When we realized that, that was when we realized we should’ve just committed to the 2 nights.
Normandy Farms, where we went, was a perfect starting spot for us. They’ve got pools, a lake for fishing, a bike park, a dog park, horse shoes, athletic fields, playgrounds, a recreation center, immaculate bathrooms, an activities schedule going all day, a restaurant/store, and just a generally well-kept campground that makes life about as easy as it can be when you’re camping for the first time with a big family.
It also helped that we went with the Mohamed’s, so we filled in each other’s packing holes and forgotten essentials. And, while our kids aren’t the exact same ages, they’re all close enough that everyone had someone to hang out with.
Now, maybe it’s just because it’s our first camping trip with this crew, but the whole “sweating bullets” thing out of anxiousness never really subsided the entire time we were out there. There’s the concern that you’ll run out of ice, that the kids won’t sleep in the tent that they’re all sharing together, that the bugs and caterpillars will make their way into your sleeping bags, that the kids will drink the water from the spicket that specifically says, “DO NOT DRINK.”
Yes, I’m definitely an over-anxious worry wart personality, but there’s a lot of opportunity for things to worry about when you’re camping with a family like ours.
It definitely starts out as one of those trips where you genuinely convince yourself for the first 5-10 hours that it’s the absolute best trip you’ve ever gone on. Then, that wears off a bit and you start getting sick of using dirty cutlery and serving spoons, watching caterpillars and ants crawl all over the inside of your tent, and walking across a rather large field every time you want to go to the bathroom. And, finally, you’re just dying to get back in your car and hit up the nearest Starbuck’s on your way home as you daydream about returning to your regular routine…and, bed…and, shower…and, everything that doesn’t have to do with camping.