Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Damp Camping

This has been a stressful month, between near-nightly baseball games, prepping for three boys' birthdays, and trying to get my own school work done, both to wrap up the semester, and to prep for residency. Our kids' school also received an "F" grade last week as part one of the Governor's neo-conservative wet dream of privatizing Maine's public schools (see my letter to the editor here), meanwhile, the same week, I attended a school board meeting to try and protest stripping art, music and foreign language out of our school as part of a misguided and Orwellian bid to bring "equity" to the district. In short, by the end of last week, I was severely in need of a vacation.

We had to switch our regular camping trip back a weekend, in order to attend a graduation next weekend. And due to work and a Friday night baseball game, we could only manage two days (and one night), rather than the usual three days, two nights. Unfortunately, our readjusted trip landed us smack dab on the only two days of rain in more than a month.

But we forged ahead. I really, really wanted to get away, and the kids don't care two figs about rain (C on the other hand, was another story, but we dragged him along anyway). We were up and on the road by 7:30 Saturday morning, which is a record, surely, for our family. And we had almost the entire campground to ourselves.

The area of the campground where our "usually" site is was not yet open, so we had to settle for this incredible bluff overlooking the ocean and the sand beach. E and Z were not happy about this to begin with, but after I gave them cookies and convinced them that they could play anywhere in the whole entire campground, pretending any site was their own, they acquiesced.

I planned a more stripped-down, minimalist version of our usual camping trips (no pizza on the grill), and ended up forgetting a lot of things in our haste to get going: hairbrush, M's toothbrush, washcloths, soap––who needs hygiene in the wilderness anyway?––a spatula, the grill that goes over the fire. The worst was the memory card for my camera (C took these pictures with his phone). It took me as long to adjust to the idea of taking memories, not pictures, as it did for E and Z to adjust to a different campsite.

We spent a lot more time in the tent than I would prefer (trapped in 400 cubic feet with three rowdy boys is not my idea of a good time), but we got a lot of reading done––finished Harry Potter and started Julie of the Wolves––and did some drawing and a lot of just general lying around and relaxing in each other's company, with nowhere to go and nothing to do, which is what has been severely missing from our lives lately.

By the time I gave up on the sun joining us Sunday afternoon, and had the car all packed up again and ready to head out for a late Mother's Day lunch on the way home, the boys were engrossed in digging in the sand and running from the incoming tide. They probably could have stayed another week. The sun came out, I am not kidding you, the minute we got home and, except for a brief, drenching shower just after we got the tent and a load of laundry hung out to dry, the skies have been clear ever since.

I knew that, short and hasty though it was, the trip did the trick when I felt my usual low-level anxiety return after we got home––I hadn't even noticed it was gone . I wish I could come up with a way to make baseball, work and school disappear so that next May we can stay for a whole week.

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