This is my eighth week of blogging at Around the Thicket. I have just begun to explore some of the topics that fascinate me the most: learning in the early years, sibling relationships, and especially outdoor play. While I have shared a few tricks that make my life easier, I don’t have it all figured out. I want to share what works for our family, but I never want that to overshadow the fact that we are on a journey that typically has more setbacks than successes.
This weekend, we had a major fail as a family. It was mostly my fault, although I blame the weather a bit. I don’t want to ruin the story for you, though. And so, without further ado, I’d like to share what I have decided to call our ‘un-camping trip’.
The Best Laid Plans
Our weekend turned out to be a huge debacle. I’d booked a camping pod in January and spent all of last week preparing for our trip. I cooked food, loaded the car, and planned fun activities for the weekend. I put the kids in the car, waited for Carl to lock up the house, and in the meantime checked my email for the instructions for getting the keys to our pod.
I’d booked the pod for the following weekend. Guilt washed over me. I had been talking up the camping trip all week to N and even to Carl. We’d all been looking forward to it. Now we sat in the car, packed up with nowhere to go.
After a very quick planning session, Carl ran into town to buy a tent. £170 later, we got on the road to a campsite near Elterwater.
The site had plenty of space, so we picked a spot and Carl started to pitch the tent while I got the boys out of the car. The tent was absolutely massive. The inner part of the tent would have just fit in our bedroom at home. Carl struggled with it. G crawled on it. N wandered around, moving pegs, stepping on it, and trying to ‘help’, which was more of a hindrance. I tried to help Carl with the tent, but I couldn’t do much and keep the boys off of it at the same time. It was a bit like having a very unruly third child.
The weather wasn’t great, and after we had been at the site for about 45 minutes, a big gust of wind blew up. It pulled out enough tent pegs to pick our tent off the ground. And straight into a barbed wire fence. Two poles snapped. I could hear the fabric of the tent rip. Carl looked me in the eye and said, ‘I guess we’re going home’.
I walked up to the office and got a refund for our pitch. Meanwhile, Carl bundled up a £170 piece of purposeless fabric. I came back, put the boys back into the car and we headed home.
Back Where We Started
Driving home, I desperately wanted to find some sort of a purpose in what had just happened. I wanted a lesson or a take-away (other than how to put up a tent better), or to at least laugh at the situation. A massive rainbow appeared as we drove, which I attempted to take to heart. Honestly, though, we were too disappointed and miserable to really be uplifted by it. We trudged back into our house only a few hours after we left it, tired and rather unhappy.
So there you have it. It doesn’t matter how much I go on about getting our kids outside, I can try my hardest and still fail miserably. I can come up with all the parenting hacks in the world and fall short in my parenting. I can spend six months planning a camping trip and have it all go pear shaped. We’ve tried to make the most of our weekend at home: Carl fitted a new kitchen tap on Saturday, and on Sunday we had a nice time at the beach. A bit of a silver lining to the camping debacle.
Hopefully we will set off on Friday for our actual camping trip. All of our food is in the freezer and we know where all our gear is, so theoretically it will all go smoothly. If we have a great time, I will share all about it. If we have a terrible time, I will still share all about it. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I have my life all together!