I LOVE not camping

I LOVE not camping
The apropos luggage tag I received for my birthday this year.

Every August around this time, my husband takes our children camping. All of them.  This leaves me home alone for about five days. I LOVE not camping.

The tradition started about eight or so years ago as the Men’s Camping Trip. My husband and our sons, his brother and his son. Then my niece, at the age of four or so, decided she didn’t want to be left out. Apparently deciding my brother-in-law should not be left in the woods to care for a four year-old, my sister-in-law insisted on coming along, too. And then it became the camping trip for everyone except Kim.

How I’ve managed to get away with this for so long is a mystery to me. Wait. I know. Maybe it’s because I insist to everyone that I hate camping. I’ve been known to say,  “My idea of camping is two stars.” Hey, I am ACityMom after all. But my disdain for sleeping in a tent in the great outdoors is fake. In fact, I often went camping with a childhood friend when I was growing up and loved it. I know there’s a big difference between being the grown-ups and being the kids when it comes to camping. The only preparation we had to do as kids was imagine how we wanted our marshmallows done.  I still marvel at the bravery of Mr. and Mrs. G. They had three kids of their own and still didn’t seem to mind one more tagging along.  Or maybe they were like me, once you have three you don’t even notice a few more.

“Who are you?” I ask the strange kid at our dinner table.

“Gracie. I live down the street.”

“Right. And you?”

“Trevor. I’m Ethan’s friend from school.”

“Fine. Eat your peas.”

Which is why having my entire house to myself for so long is like therapy for my soul. I feel like a sponge soaking up the solitude. The order.  The quiet.  When was the last time you had a day stretch before you in which you didn’t have to take care of anyone?

I write in big thirsty chunks of time. I go for a run whenever the hell I want. I eat when I’m hungry. I don’t cook. No meal planning, no chauffeuring. I won’t have to run the dishwasher until Sunday. When I put a piece of paper on a kitchen counter, it’s still there three days later!

As they were making their way out the door yesterday, my husband said, “You’re going to miss us.”  I almost replied, “Whatever gets you out the door,” but he’s right. I will. I do. And I did almost start to run down the steps to get one last hug, one last peck on the cheek from each of them.

In no time they’ll be home and the noise and the mayhem and the chaos will return. All the wonderful things that make being a family so perfect. In the mean time, don’t hate me because I’m not camping.


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