Simcha Fisher, author of The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning writes for several publications and blogs daily at Aleteia. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and ten children. Without supernatural aid, she would hardly be a human being.
If you're reading this, I survived.
We went camping on Sunday, and are just getting back today. Yep, camping with all nine kids and two decidedly indoorsy adults. Two things made this plan just a shade less than criminally insane: we left the puppy with my mother-in-law (and the bird with a friend. The gerbils, the tadpole, and the raccoons who've built their retirement plan around our garbage cans fend for themselves), and we rented a yurt.
To some, the use of anything that makes camping more convenient -- whether we're talking about a change of socks, or a GPS device, or a tin cup in which to simmer your wild caught possum and toadberry stew -- means that you're not actually camping. "Why leave your house at all?" they scoff. "If you're just going to bring all the comforts of home along with you, might as well just stay there!"
Joke's on them! My home isn't comfortable at all. Parts of it are, in fact, why we decided that we really shouldn't even try adopting a dog from the shelter. (THEY DO HOME VISITS.) The horrible truth about the way we live is why we have birthday parties at the beach, at the bowling alley, at the cafeteria of the local jail, anywhere besides our living room. The only exception is when we can have some kind of theme party that involves covering all of the walls and furniture with decorative tablecloths from the dollar store. It's possible that some of the kids are getting too old for that. Treasure the moments with your little ones, mothers. All too soon, they grow up and become too cool for plastic tablecloths.
As I was saying, there are some for whom a yurt rental means we're not really camping, because that kind of thing is just too cushy. And then there are others who see us coming home from one of our luxiurious, indulgent camping trips, and their question is less, "Did you have a nice time?" and more "Would you like the number of my therapist?" And then they just scribble it down on a piece of paper, drop it on the ground, and scurry away before we can get too close, because if that rash isn't contagious, the smell certainly is.
I'm writing this on Saturday night, to be posted on Tuesday. So technically speaking, I don't actually know how our camping trip will have gone. But based on past experiences and a general knowledge of how our luck goes, I can make some predictions. Any or all of the following almost certainly happened:
It will have turned out that, since our campsite is in Massachusetts, the land of the law and the law and the other law, the campfire with which we attempted to warm our rustic, hardscrabble Pop Tarts has been declared hazardous and illegal. That's a $780 fine, plus a mandatory court date for sassing the game warden.
Abrupt screen time detox turned already childish people into shattered, trembling, shells of humanity, incapable of enjoying the wonders of nature because, when you're looking at a tree or a woodpecker or an interesting bit of fungus, you can only have one tab open at a time. It was pathetic. And the kids were even worse.
Heavy rain with intermittent thunderstorms were predicted, but we decided to go camping anyway, and we decided not to buy ponchos, because I spent all the camping money on beer and pop tarts. So we spent most of the time hunched indoors, seeing who could get granola lodged in the most uncomfortable orifice. Lightening will strike the roof vent and run down the sides of the yurt and up through the floor (yeah, it has a floor. Hard wood. Wanna make something of it?) and finally, finally transform my ten-year-old son into a hideous mutant so he has an excuse for acting that way.
The dog enjoyed his time away from us so much that, when we tried to bring him back into our happy home, he voted with his poo.
Will any of this have actually happened? I can't say for sure. The one thing that you can assume, if you're reading this, is that we remembered our house key. Unlike last time. Probably the most adventurous part of last year's camping trip was when my husband had to stand on top of the car and stuff my son through the attic window so he could unlock the door so we could all get in. And the second most adventurous part is, of course, rediscovering what your house really smells like.
Well, happy trails to us! As I said, if you're reading this, it means I survived. All that remains to be seen is whether or not that's a good thing.