Last week my husband and I went camping. Like, outside.
With our toddler.
And our three month old.
I’m sure many of you are laughing, some others think we’re nuts and even more are wondering how we did it.
That was my reaction when my husband first suggested that we go. We had been camping as a couple, and I had camped all over Scotland as a teenager, but the thought of all of the work it would take to get two kids camping was downright overwhelming. Where would our infant sleep? How would we make it quiet and dark enough to get our toddler to bed? What about cooking for a family on a camp stove? What about the DIRT?!
In truth, we had been invited by friends of ours that also have two young children. They had been camping with one child and all three survived (perhaps even had fun). So I kind of figured that if they could do it, we could too. And worst case scenario was that if it was terrible and nobody slept for three days, at least there were other adults there to share in the misery (and wine).
So we said yes. And made our ferry reservation. We were going camping.
In the weeks leading up to our trip, the worry monster crept in again. You would have thought I was preparing to take two kids on a cross-country tour. I kept packing, but couldn’t help but think that staying home would just be so much easier. I did my best not to overthink it, and when the day arrived I took a deep breath and off we went – and I’m so glad we did.
We spent four days completely unplugged. It was absolutely beautiful and we made memories to last a lifetime. My husband and his friend caught two large salmon that we cooked for dinner on the beach. My toddler hilariously jumped in the ocean with her clothes on (again). We hiked. We roasted marshmallows. We drank boxed wine. We took a delightful slow boat ride to a lovely little taco shop where we indulged in fresh fish tacos and hand squeezed margaritas in the sunshine. We splashed and ran and sang and swam and dug up sand and counted slugs and got very, very dirty. We loved it.
I should mention that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows…the kids only kind of slept and my husband and I almost killed each other while repacking the car. We burned dinner the first night and oversalted it the next. Then there was that pesky raccoon.
But somehow it didn’t matter. We got back on the ferry happy, whole, and grateful.
With my brain, I could overthink myself out of just about anything. Taking two very young children camping seems totally daunting if I really think about it. But if I had given in to the thoughts, we would have missed out on a phenomenal experience.
I could have let the fear and the planning take over and kept our family right here on our front porch. And that would be okay. But I vow that sometimes, I will say yes. I will go and pack the diapers and the snacks and the toddler-sized camp cot and get in the car and go. Because it might just be the experience of a lifetime.