I just got back from a weekend of camping. I’d like to say that it was a time of amazing family bonding. Of great talks under the stars and walks along the river where we pushed ourselves a bit more than we normally would, cheering each other on to be our best selves in matching tee shirts.
And it was. Minus the matching tee shirt part. Though if we did have matching shirts, it would be these.
But it was also a lot of last minute rushing (despite all my prepping and shopping runs) to get to our destination. Some ingredients for much anticipated recipes were left behind. Shrimp that was supposed to go into Saturday’s gumbo was left on the counter overnight by a certain teenager who saw the brown wrapping paper as being trash instead of hosting potential stomach seizing bacteria. And the trash in the camper?! The bodies bumping into each other at 2am to cross the road to find the bathroom?! This kind of experience can only be described as a five part Oy: Oy Oy Oy Oy Oy!
Half of me wants to just get more organized for next trip. You know, shop a few days in advance. Perhaps I could use paper plates or we could pre-pack the trailer with items that we’ll always need, instead of arriving at a campsight with four cans of black beans but no can opener.
I don’t have any illusions that the great outdoors is going to be easy. Nope, stuff takes work and, as much as I’d love to own something like the camper below, I don’t. And that’s okay.
But I know, deep in my gut, I’m not an outdoors work-til-I-drop person. I’m a hotel lady. I’m a lover of conversations and coffee, not black tea and neighbors in the adjoining campsite snoring while I desperately try to climb over my spouse cowboy style on the way to a midnight pee run.
My goal, as you all know, is to laugh and keep things light. But I also didn’t get sober to just deal with things that aren’t working for me. Like that car full of used clothing I dumped on Friday, I’m ready to dump old ideas of what my life needs to look like. And guess what: If everyone in my family loves camping, but I’m not so sure, it’s okay for me to have a simple conversation. “Hey, I thought I wanted to do this, but I don’t love it. How can we do it differently next time?” Or, here’s a perfectly acceptable conversational starter also, “If we can’t leave the shoes outside the camper, I can’t continue to camp. It’s too dirty for me.”
I bring this up because people, especially women, often have a hard time saying when things don’t work for them. (Thanks, Shauna Niequest, for reminding me of this concept!)
At almost 50, I’m ready to change that dynamic around. Happiness never comes from me doing things I think other people want. It only comes when I stand in my own truth and admit exactly where I’m at any given time.
My needs matter. Wow, what a concept!
This Sunday night, I thank God for his beautiful gift of nature. I thank him for a family that has always been by my side, through the amazing adventures and the sticky muddy camper ones. And I also thank God for the burgeoning truth that my happiness does not depend on other people agreeing with my feelings. It only matters that I express myself and let God handle the outcome.
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7 thoughts on “Camp Honesty”
We did camping when the kids were small – how else do you holiday with 4 kids and 3 Jack Russell terriers? We moved on to renting caravans and from there to Landmark Trust (UK mostly – old places wth history but not good enough for the National Trust to take over) – although that wasn’t so cheap!
I never got into the hotel thing – apart from our few holidays abroad; although most of those were self-catering, come to think of it. Maybe when I meet that millionaire third time around…
Maybe I need to camp with other people and have 4 Terriers with me. That would definitely make it more enjoyable! Always good to hear from you, Cathy. I love your writing and your perspective.
So much to love about this post. Also that tee-shirt! 😂And that amazing camper! 😍🤠Thanks for the smiles. :))
Thanks, Sobriety Tree! Let’s trudge together!
Ahh your camper! While I also am a hotel girl, your camper was a highlight of our trip! Athough it may have more to the lovely host and family that we stayed with. Also I would suggest taggingg along with us next time 😉 cuz it would be AMAZEballs! love you so
Irishmama, having you, your handsome husband and four children crash in my driveway was the highlight of my school year!!