Do you ever feel like you’re learning way too many big life lessons for a person your age? Do you always feel like you should know that already? We went camping this weekend and I did that again.
We left on Thursday morning and by Wednesday, mid-day-ish I had already completely lost my composure and was freaking out (to myself and the cat) about how out of control of the packing situation I was. This was supposed to be the year when I took lots of extra time to make all my preparations just perfect, but that didn’t happen. “This is dumb. Why do we even go camping anyway? We live in the country already and we have this house that I spend all this time trying to make welcoming and comfy and now we’re going to leave that, do a whole bunch more work to just get through the day, and come back having lost three days of housework time.”
So I told myself a bunch of reasons why and they made sense and sounded good enough and all. That kept me going for a few hours, but by later that night I was in full-on freak-out mode again, got over it, and decided to just try to keep a good attitude about it the next day. I’m exhausting!
I always go on a little rampage when I wake up in the tent on camping mornings. I feel icky! Everything is wet! I just want to make a tea but I have to go through 18 steps first and I don’t know where anything is! I have to pee and all these strangers are going to see my messy hair! Panic, panic, panic. And I feel like a failure at camp-home-making because clearly everyone else must have all these great tips and tricks and goes on living just like they’re at home in their freshly-vacuumed houses, because that’s just how it must be.
So, clearly we’ve never camped with anyone else before. This time though, Kennedy met a little friend on the second day we were there. Well, we got to know this girl’s parents a bit and we hung out with them while the kids played. These are the “good campers” that I’m always wanting to be like. They were there for a week and a half. We were being ambitious this year and decided to do 3 nights. They had this whole camping thing figured out.
Their kids had matted hair and sweaters with dirt on them that they wore for three days anyway. They sometimes ate less-than-balanced meals for dinner. They woke up with sand in their teeth. They got bugs in their tent. Their daughter didn’t ask me to wipe the sticky off of our picnic table when they sat down to color. She didn’t even know what I was talking about when I asked her if she’d like me to. Because this is camping. This is what you do. You’re living in a little forest-room made out of dirt. So, things get dirty.
So you’re not supposed to try to control the dirt and make everything all sparkly and new looking? It’s worth a shot, this dirt-embracing mentality. Actually, I could get used to this. And I did. And when we got home to that house I’ve been working so hard to make comfortable and liveable? The one that was going to fall apart if I was away from it? It miraculously became the cleanest, shiniest, most welcoming place we’ve ever seen, giant piles of laundry in the middle of the kitchen floor and all. Not bad for three days work.
Photos taken by Chris one night at sunset.
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.