As a kid, we always camped in a huge 12 person tent and it felt like the lap of luxury. We had air mattresses that went inside our sleeping bags and even an emergency bathroom in the corner (only used in extreme cases). I loved camping with our family. It was a cozy comfortable occasion. Camp-fires every night where we would sing songs… We usually drew a crowd of people to our site and they’d bring guitars, etc and sing along.
After getting married, camping changed. We still went on the family camping trip, but after the first year or two in a tent with my OCD husband, we had to convert to a camper to insure his sanity. (He would empty the tent daily and sweep it out)
I didn’t mind converting to the camper, especially when it would rain. The only thing I didn’t like was the entire family piling into MY camper because they all still were in tents and it was drier in my camper.
Now you need to notice that I’ve mentioned my OCD husband… what I’ve neglected to include is that I’m OCD in my own way. I’m an organizing fiend!! Being the organized person I am, I had to come up with a method to organize our camper. My DH would still sweep out the camper each day, but I found that if I had boxes and bins for things – I could keep his and my sanity intact. Each person had their specific spot for clothes, shoes, etc. Then there was the 9-hole cubicle structure I made to hold boxes of toiletries, toys, towels, or anything else that needed a home. I became the queen of storage containers. Items couldn’t just go in a drawer or cupboard – they first need to be housed in some kind of container (and preferably labeled!!) and then they can go wherever.
I had everything neat, clean and organized in my little camper, but that was just my small part of the camping experience. I was just one fourth of the camping adventure. There was the rest of the family that also contributed to the whole experience. We all had our pieces that we provided to the whole camping compound. I never realized how dependent on my family I was (when it came to camping) until I actually did it on my own with my three kids. As I was packing for that trip – I began to realize how much everyone else had, how much everyone else helped and what I was missing!! Doing it myself was not an easy feat!
First – I realized that I had never, ever backed the camper into anyplace… so – luckily, I was able to pull thru one campsite into mine. Then it was time to setup. Well – at least I had done that before… but never with 3 kids running around underfoot. Usually they had other kids to run off with. Now, it was time to setup for dinner. Hhhmmm – who is going to start my fire? Do I have dishes and silverware? Do I have a grate to put over the fire? When the family is around – someone else starts the fire, someone else has the silverware and dishes and someone else has the cooking grate or camp grill. So – as the smoke is billowing out of my fire pit, the neighbors holler “Hey Smokey Joe – want to use our fire for dinner?!” Thank goodness!! I remember thinking that camping was a whole lot easier with the rest of my family around and hoping that it was bedtime! (see the previous post about Stress)