Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I hate camping.  Actually, we camped a fair bit growing up and I liked that, but camping with my dad is really an entirely different experience.  One that involves simply showing up...because he has been planning, packing, and preparing for weeks.  I do enjoy the outdoors, but overnight stays at a Westin on the beach are the stuff my daydreams are made of these days.  I might have enjoyed snuggling up to my man in a tent by the fire before kids, but the mental image of camping with small people kills any of the (tiniest) joy I might have had for camping.

Which is why it was so odd that when some close friends of ours took theirs camping together this summer, I was bitten by the green eyed monster--jealous as all-get-out over schleping gear, dodging bugs, and sweating like a beast! I don't even like camping and if asked to go, I would quickly say "no. heck no!".  So, why did I care that the Burch bunch wasn't participating in this iconic summer fun?  I could just see it....us trying to push Lilah in her wheelchair over tree roots in the path, deciding who stays with her while G plays in the creek, stressing out as the whole campground listens to her frustration over choosing the wrong Backyardigans to watch.  We could never go.

And that's what was bothering me, I realized.  Our family cannot go camping. Everyone likes to decide on their own what they want to do...to make their own choices.  And, while I might not choose to go camping, I want the choice.  Maybe it's the old 'want what you can't have' or 'the grass is always greener' stuff--whatever it is, I am jealous of a normal life--family life without such rigid limitations.  I have longed for a summer where I can scoop my kids up and go to a waterpark, or a baseball game, or even out to lunch--any activity where I don't first have to run through a mental checklist (where will she sit?, how will I get her inside?, do I have enough distractions?, will she be in the sun?, will she be too hot?, when does she need to eat again?). 

I would not trade my sweet miracle for a normal life, but I wish I could have both.  And then again, as I have so many times in the last years, I remind myself that this 'normal life' is just my perception in many ways.  That everyone has a weight to bear and limitations to deal with...it's just that we are all prone to think ours are the hardest.  And, it doesn't much matter what I think--I just have to make the best of it.  So, for the rest of the summer...we are forging onward, these little people and I.  We are a team.  A determined to go--to the pool, the mall, the ice cream shop...maybe even the fair.  Just not camping.  At least not yet.:)

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