As I said, all things considered, the camping trip went well. And by well, I mean that we came home with the same number of children that we left with.
We got a later start than originally hoped for, and pulled into the campground somewhere in the vicinity of 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon. It took a sweet forever to set up the tent, because we have that type of tent that attaches to the back of our van, so we’re kind of a wide load. Which is unfortunate since the tent pads at Ft. Wilderness are generally long and narrow. And then we have to negotiate the stump thingy that houses the water and electrical outlets.
So. Finally we pulled the van all the way forward, and constructed the tent out of the back.
I think we finished setting up somewhere around dark thirty, and that’s when I realized that placing 3 children who already spend WAY too much time together into even closer quarters would only accentuate the BICKERING. Around the same time, the thought occurred to me when I realized that we were only in our first day:
This is what hell must be like.
Honestly. I spit on the spirit of camping and vowed never to ever do it again. Should I live through the experience.
I had the good sense to pre-cook and freeze all of our meals, so that what little cooking I would be doing on the Coleman stove would consist of a pan, a spoon, and heat, with a little stirring thrown in for good measure. This plan served me well throughout the week.
The first night passed with little to no incidence. We spent a good deal of time in the pool, which was just across the street from our camping loop. The next afternoon, reprieve came in the form of very dear friends who came and set up camp in the site next to ours. All of the sibling issues dissipated with the addition of two additional children. In fact, from then on, I actually enjoyed the camping experience.
Leading us to vow that from now on, we will only camp with friends.
The only mis-step that could have ended my camping career happened on Wednesday night when I was trudging back from the bathroom in the dark. Void of flashlight or lantern.
I stepped off of the slight curb that separated our driveway from the sand pad for the tent. And what luck, there was an unsightly root at just that same spot. I twisted my ankle and knee, falling hard onto the pavement. My knee underneath me. Yes, the same knee that endured two surgeries last year. The same knee that I could put no weight on for the better part of a year. The same knee that only gave me a 90 degree bend until about 8 months ago. Yes, that one.
I saw stars. And not just up in the night sky. The pain was excruciating. As I lay there, all the worst case scenarios played out in my head. The van is attached to the tent, how will I get to the hospital? An ambulance would be out of the question, what with all the PEACE AND QUIET that everyone in Ft. Wilderness pays a premium for. And then I began kicking myself with my good leg for not being more careful because SETBACKS? WHO NEEDS THAT?
Cailey thoughtfully noticed that her mother was splayed out on the pine needles and leaned into the tent to inform her father that mommy fell down. Fiddledaddy came tearing out of the tent, I’m sure with his own worse case scenarios playing out in his head revolving around the need to take over the grocery shopping duties again.
I managed to straighten my leg out in front of me and slowly, oh so slowly, everyone hoisted me upright and I hobbled into the tent and crawled into bed. I had already taken a Tylenol PM so YEAH ME for thinking ahead. I had no idea if I’d be able to walk in the morning.
I woke up first, because I have the bladder of a 95 year old woman. In the quiet, I took a step, then another, and made it all the way to the bathroom. On the way back, Emme found me and helped me back to the tent.
I stayed active, and noticed that with each passing day, my knee was much better. I totally dodged a bullet with that one.
The rest of the trip went by far too quickly. The children swam until they were wrinkled, we took long drives in the golf cart spying all the wonderfully decorated RV’s, we watched fireworks at the beach, and roasted marshmallows while watching an outdoor movie. Which sadly for the boys in the group, was a chick flick. At one point Jensen leaned over to his father and reported in ALL CAPS, “DAD, THIS IS THE WORST MOVIE EVER.” His father agreed.
Friday came far too soon, and we had the arduous task of packing up to head back to civilization. I have to say that I’m now ruined for any other camping other than Disney camping. I did enjoy the luxury of a pristine bathroom and curbside electricity to run my miniature blender so that I might enjoy my daily frozen coffee concoction. Having a portable heater at my disposal in the middle of the night was also a bonus.
We had a wonderful time, and I think for the first time camping as a family, we did pretty well. Except for the bickering. And near broken femur. But other than that…
We’re already eyeing the calendar for a possible spring trip, but that will totally depend on which of our friends we can wrangle to join us.