One of my New Years resolutions is to take the children camping. It should be noted that I am not a huge camper myself. In fact when I was a child we would go camping for a week, sometimes more, once with extended family and once with close friends. I always enjoyed the swimming, camp fires, fishing, canoeing, and hikes, it was the sleeping arrangements that I never really cared for, more appropriately, detested.
One year we stayed in a Teepee during a drought, the top of the Teepee was opened wide to allow for better air circulation. That first night there, as luck would have it, it poured down rain, buckets. Everything was wet, we were wet, I was not happy. Then to make matters worse, the restrooms were a few minutes down the path. So I went to go get cleaned up and found myself sliding on slimy things all over the path. They were little frogs; I was slipping and sliding on frog carcass, AHHHH!
I never really understood why people would pay their mortgage and then pack up to go live outside for a week or two? I was always like, Hello, you have a cozy climate controlled environment at home and you choose to sleep with the bugs, rain, large varmints, and weird smells? I didn’t understand it then, but, as a parent I think I understand it. It teaches children to really appreciate what they have at home and, I suppose, it can even be fun, but that is only during fun activities that I previously mentioned. So, I guess this city Mama can go camping, or maybe Camping Chic (do all the fun stuff outside then stay at the lodge overnight). No, I can do this, for the sake of my children learning a valuable lesson, the sacrifices we make for our children.
So, we visited Cabela’s yesterday in hopes of introducing the children to a different side of the great outdoors (where you do not stay in the lodge). Boy was it an introduction. I forgot about the entire taxidermy mountain, they had a lot of questions. “Why did they kill this animal? Why did they kill that animal? Why did they kill the baby?” This was tricky. I am always honest with our children, when we eat chicken, fish, turkey, cow, what have you; they know it was an animal at one time that they are eating. It was just tricky explaining the hunting, eating, and stuffing as a sport and, I suppose taxidermy as an art? I was always fascinated by the skills that the Native American had to hunt down a large animal with an arrow and bow. I also admired the fact that they had an appreciation for the animal and utilized all components, the fur, meat, bones, etc. I do have admiration for the hunt but I am still working with the whole taxidermy thing, I struggle with the idea that it is a little narcissistic to display something you killed. Like the three-year-old who wants all his pictures displayed on the refrigerator, but an adult, I just don’t get it. Maybe one day?
So, after answering quite an array of distinctive questions from our Kindergartener and preschooler, while struggling with our toddler who wanted to go swimming with the fish, it was off to the camping equipment. As we made our way to the elevator, thanks to the stroller, I realized I was standing out like a sore thumb. I was the only pink in a sea of camouflage. I noticed a group of Mennonite women seated on a bench and I suddenly felt for them, I know they often receive stares because of their clothing, this time I was the odd-ball.
Once upstairs we priced some camping supplies and I came to the realization that it just might be cheaper to borrow a tent the first time we go, order pizza, lots of pizza, I am talking pizza in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, and pizza for supper time (and s’mores). All that camping gear really adds up and besides what do we actually need? We need a few sleeping bags, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and some clothes? Besides, isn’t camping suppose to be about time together as a family, having fun in the great outdoors.
So maybe our family is not quite at the Cabela caliber for camping just yet. But, maybe one day, I will get beyond the Camping chic status, and if not, I will book a room in the lodge for the evening and spend a lovely day with the family and sleep in a climate controlled environment and a dry cozy bed (also, Maumee Bay State Park Lodge has Starbucks, BONUS!)
So are you a hardcore camping mom or is Camping Chic more your speed too? Got any advice for this Mama when it comes to camping? Maybe you have a funny camping story, I would love to hear about it, do tell!