My family and I went on a camping trip recently. This was my kids’ first time sleeping in a tent and experiencing all the things I love about camping- roasting hot dogs, hikes, campfires, being outdoors, and of course let’s not forget s’mores! Before we even packed up our gear I had built up expectations in my head about how fun it was going to be to share something I enjoy with my children. I imagined how we would go on a hike with our perfectly behaved children where no one would ask to be carried, how we’d all sit around the fire and cook our meals where nothing would drop on the ground, and how I would flawlessly model for them how to protect your skin outdoors with multiple applications of sunscreen and wear a wide brimmed hat. Well, my kids are ages one and three and things didn’t go quite as expected. My youngest was less interested in exploring the outdoors and basically only wanted to raid our family minivan that was parked so conveniently at our campsite. My oldest was terrified of using the campground porta potty (though, can you blame her?) and although I may have slathered sunscreen on everyone I didn’t once take out my usual “outdoor hat” that is basically the size of Texas. In fact, I forgot my stuff all together- I just wore the same outfit the entire time. We ended up leaving early the next morning. I could have sworn I heard the whole campground cheer as we left at 6 am. How could they not, our kids were up at 4am in tears about who knows what.
As we packed up our things from a pretty exhausting, less than desired camping experience I felt pretty disappointed. I was looking forward to it and things didn’t go as I had planned. Then I thought about some of the good things. My oldest enjoyed cooking over the fire which I loved being able to do with her. We all got to snuggle up together and watch the Disney movie Frozen in our tent. We even got to see a little wildlife on our hike.
Life is like that isn’t it? It rarely goes as expected and is often filled with both good and bad things. But if we can take the good and leave (or maybe even laugh about) the bad then we are better off for it. I may even try camping again with my kids someday!