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The Great Outdoors

August 8, 2011

So when last we spoke I was having a bit of a melt-down over my endless pile of obligations that felt like drowning. I haven’t resolved those yet. I’ll keep you posted. But what I did do was go camping!

So let’s talk about that, shall we?

Normally when we travel at all, let alone camp (where presumably forgotten necessities are more difficult to pick up on the fly) I make lists and organize and pack and … ok, I CONTROL every last detail of the situation. I detest feeling like I don’t know IF we have something, let alone where it is.

But if there’s anything at all that I have learned since having a child, it’s that sometimes I just need to let go and allow my husband to take over and keep my faith in him that he is an adult, he is intelligent, and he will do a good job.

It isn’t easy. But I try.

Having worked till 10:30pm on Thursday night and coming home to find that my wonderful other half had not made a list, or organized anything, or started packing, I took a deep breath and I went to bed. Starting the weekend off in an exhausted stupor wasn’t going to help anyone.

The next morning we parked Gus in front of a cartoon (don’t judge – it was for a good cause!) and got packing. While I got the odds and ends together he got out Gus’ clothes. Two sleepers, two jackets, three sweatshirts, four long-sleeved shirts, two tee shirts, multiple pairs of pants and shorts and socks and hats. The pile of Gus’ clothes was enormous.

I balked at the magnitude of overpacking. I ridiculed the winter coat(s). In AUGUST. But in the end I sighed, “Fine.” and most of the pile was stuffed into my backpack with my own clothes. I put up less of a fight when Masa insisted we bring our cold-weather sleeping bags rather than the summer jobbies that pack smaller and carry lighter. We could always unzip them if we got hot, I figured.

Then it came time for the big things and as I wheeled the ginormous jogging stroller through the house, and out to the car, it was Masa’s turn to balk. “Do we realllly need that?” he intoned, clearly believing the answer to be no. But I knew two things: 1) the other two families going with us were bringing joggers, and 2) our campsite was a bit of a hike (distance somewhat unknown) from the car. so I insisted on the jogger.

And then, practicing my zen, and cleaning the house, I let go and let Masa. And he packed everything into the car, managing to obliterate the rear-window visibility but keep enough room for the groceries we’d pick up on the way. I was satisfied.

The journey was smooth and we arrived in late afternoon to a cold and damp, foggy coastal state park. First thing we did? Suit up Gus in his puffy winter vest and grudgingly admit that Masa had been right about the wardrobe and the bags.

Second thing we did? load up the stroller for the 15-minute uphill haul to the campsite. It wasn’t a bad walk, not even really what I’d call a hike, but it would have been utter hell to carry all our crap up to the site. And Masa admitted as much.

So the moral of the story is that whether we make lists and organize the living daylights our of our packing, or wing it by the seat of our pants (which might very well be the only pair we remembered to bring), neither of us always knows best.

The trip was a success in the end and now that we have two excursions under our belts I’m feeling more and more confident that camping will become a big part of our children’s childhood. That makes me happy.

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