by D'Ann Mateer
I’ve been camping exactly one time in my life.
It all started with a Lucy and Ethel moment, my best friend taking the Lucy role.
“Hey, you know what we could do?” she said. “We could go camping!”
We’d been lamenting our lack of money and time to go on vacation with our little ones. And I do mean little. At the time, her boys were 4, 2, and 6 months. My daughter was 3 and my son 18 months. We each took our meager stack of vacation cash and went to the sporting goods store where we purchased camping equipment for our families.
I’ll admit, I was wary from the beginning. After all, I’m not an outdoorsy girl in any sense of the word. And my husband isn’t an outdoor guy, either. But Lucy can convince Ethel that even the craziest of schemes will work out in the end, can’t she? So we loaded up and headed for a state park about an hour from our houses.
Oh—have I mentioned yet that I was 8 ½ months pregnant with my third child???
I can’t remember how we managed to get all set up, but we did. I mostly sat in the chair since I couldn’t bend down very far. The first day (or ½ day by the time we got there) was fairly uneventful, although keeping my I-have-to-touch-everything three-year-old out of the fire was a bit stressful. But the real fun started during the night. My friend’s two-year-old began coughing. A croupy cough. Fortunately we had picked a campsite near bathroom facility with showers. Since sleeping on the ground at 8 ½ months prego isn’t a pleasant experience, I was happy to accompany my friend and her baby to the showers. We sat in the dressing area letting the steam from the hot water soothe his chesty cough.
The next day, of course, we were exhausted. But things weren’t too horrible—until early that afternoon. That’s when the storm rolled in. And I do mean storm. Churning black clouds. Huge gusts of wind. Fortunately, the guys started loading the car as the rain began to spit. By the time we’d shoved everything, including the children, into the cars, rain fell by the bucket load. Then the hail began. So we headed home. Wet. Dirty. Tired.
Almost sixteen years later, I still hold to my mantra:
Camping + 8 ½ months pregnant + Texas weather = I’m never doing that again!
So what about you? Is there a vacation experience you refuse to repeat under any circumstances? Have you ever planned a trip where EVERYTHING went wrong?