I’m not sure why exactly it is, but 100% – no kidding, it’s an actual statistic – 100% of the camping trips we take to our favorite local park include some allotment of intense illness. We go every Fathers’ Day weekend, destined for a quick and dirty trip close by, often to get our camping feet wet for the year.
Now it’s important to understand, lest this complaint lead you to label us indoorsy, that we camp a lot. We love camping. We spend nearly every ounce of available time off setting up and taking down tents, gazing at the stars by firelight, and pumping up air mattresses. We’re rarely happier than when we’re living with our feet on the earth, with no walls to get in the way of things. We travel all over the place, donning our own traveling digs whenever possible, shunning hotels and the like with possibly irrational vehemence. The crowning of our summer, for most of our married life, has been our week spent in the Boundary Waters, canoeing and camping through the wilderness, where we don’t even see walls for a good chunk of the trip. We really do like camping.
But for whatever reason, one of our favorite campgrounds, which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, does not seem to like us very much. At least not our kids. And when a place appears to have a personal vendetta against you, it is harder to embrace it without some degree of complaint.
A short history:
Year One at said park gave kiddo number one the flu, which everyone heralded as teenage drama until the vomiting began.
Year Two passed without measurable trauma during the trip, but a nephew did contract Lyme from a tick bite he received (Happy Fathers’ Day!) during the trip.
Year Three took kiddo number three to the emergency room with viral bronchitis from hell. IVs and steroids and respirators, oh my!
This year, Year Four, was all going quite well, but if you did the math, you know it didn’t stay that way.
This past weekend, in honor of Fathers’ Day once again, we set out for our perrenial campsite. We were ready for the weather, which turned out to be pretty darned nice, considering the forecast; ready for the bugs, which were practically non-existent for a pleasant change; even ready for the inevitable air mattress failure, which decided we deserved a year off. Setup was a breeze, swimming was refreshing, and everything was clicking along nicely. What we were not ready for was the flu.
At 5am Sunday morning, kiddo number three (again!) woke with a belly ache. She lost the bulk of her day to sleep and vomit, vomit and sleep, punctuated by occasional moments of lucidity and non-misery.
Terrible mother admission: I didn’t see her vomit once.
When she woke up icky, we went the normal routes: try to use the bathroom, maybe it’ll move through; try to sit up and read, maybe it’s indigestion; try to sleep, maybe it’s a figment of your imagination. When nothing worked I sent her to the next site to find Grandma and her essential oils. Surely she would have her Digestzen handy, cuz heck if I knew where mine was. Off she went, and I, exhausted, waited with one ear open and the rest of me dozing fitfully. A few moments later I heard the zipper open, lots of tossing and turning in the bed next door, and then silence. She must have finally fallen asleep.
Except it wasn’t her. Someone else had snuck out to the bathroom while I was ‘waiting,’ and it was them that I heard return. My flu-ridden daughter was still at my mom’s camper, keeping her company and keeping her busy emptying buckets. While I was sleeping. Sleeping in, to be precise. Happily.
It wasn’t until 8:30 that I finally made my leisurely way out of bed, through the shower, and finally out to the campfire, where I expected dear daughter to be, drinking cocoa and reading a book. Was she there? Not really. She was moaning in the camper, abandoned by her well-rested mother.
It was not my proudest moment, although I did secretly rejoiced – a little – that the puking was all over, and I had, for better or for worse, missed it.
Kind of. I mean, I did miss it, but it wasn’t really over. Hours later, after sitting with her for quite some time, she sent me on a run to find her water bottle. At which point she let loose again. For Grandma. Wasn’t that considerate of her? I’m just glad it wasn’t Mothers’ Day weekend.
When all was said and done, the 24 hour bug had robbed my wee one of half of her trip, I made out like a bandit, never once cleaning up her mess, and my mother earned the hero badge for the weekend. Can’t wait to see what next year brings.