This morning I was woken up by The Monkey screaming “It’s Friday! Today we go to the big tent!” The “big tent” is the camping trip I’ve been planning for almost two months and he’s been counting down the days since Monday evening. He is so excited about it, especially sleeping in a tent, that it ALMOST makes me forget my anxiety about this whole thing. I am only anxious now; when I decided to go camping with a preschooler I was downright terrified. Then I realized that it can’t be any worse than being stuck with the same kid in an inside cabin of a cruise ship for an entire weekend, courtesy of the nonstop rain and lack of cover for the pool.
To be fair, although it’s just him and me as far as family goes, we are not going alone. There are at least 20 other people in our group. It’s a group of single parents with kids of all ages and the older kids happen to get a long great with the younger kids, which is great. There are some teenagers that are happy to watch the young kids and play with them. In that sense, it’s not scary. The scary part is that well, it’s camping. But again, it’s hardly backcountry camping. We are going to a county park that has the canvas tents already set up and on platforms. Each site/tent comes with a picnic table, a fire ring, a bbq grill, and…..drum roll….electricity. Plus, there are bathrooms and showers in the campground. Oh, they even have wi-fi! Not exactly roughing it. I think it’s a good introduction to camping for The Monkey, and for me since I haven’t camped in over a decade.
Although we won’t arrive at the campsite until later today, the adventure hardly begins then. You don’t know this but I drive a very small car (for American standards). This is by choice, I like the gas efficiency and I like the car itself. It’s a 2012 Ford Fiesta SES and it’s fully loaded. When I say fully loaded, I don’t mean features, I mean camping gear! If you have ever been camping, other than backcountry camping, you probably know that the amount of stuff you need is pretty big. If you haven’t, then now you know. This isn’t usually a problem as most people who camp like this regularly have big(ger) cars. Packing my little Fiesta with all the stuff we needed was interesting to say the least. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit it all but I did. However, the only surfaces that don’t have anything on them are the driver’s seat and my son’s seat.
What’s in there? Well, clothes, a bag with non-refrigerated food, refrigerated food in a small cooler and a then a large cooler for ice, paper goods, two camp chairs, one air mattress, two sleeping bags, a camp lamp, two pillows, charcoal, and a few other odds and ends. Despite the electricity thing, I am not bringing any computers (aside from my phone), tablets, etc. I want the kid to play outside, not on electronics. It doesn’t sound like a lot of stuff, and it probably wouldn’t look like much in an SUV but my poor little car is full. It feels SO sluggish on the road compared to when it’s not loaded like this. That said, I could definitely fit more stuff in there, and it’s good to know that for future trips.
The bad news? It is raining cats and dogs as I type this. There is a cold front coming and there is a chance of rain tomorrow and Sunday. THAT is what makes me anxious.