It is official: Mondays are extra painful after exquisite weekends. Gary and I left civilization behind this weekend and struck out on my first-ever camping trip, and I enjoyed every minute. I strolled around in my hiking boots and backpack and felt very outdoorsy, even when I pointed to a large bird and wondered, “Is that an eagle?”
Gary looked at me incredulously and informed me, “No…that was a buzzard.” Then he nearly choked trying not to burst out laughing in my face.
Lack of bird identification skills aside, I still enjoyed the entire camping experience. Gary outdid himself cooking our dinner over the campfire, and we ate with just a lantern between us. Steak never tasted so good, I assure you. After I set multiple marshmallows on fire attempting to toast them, Gary and I settled in beside the fire, snuggled in the chilly night air, and just chatted and joked around. Watching the flames is hynotic; I felt so relaxed, calm, happy.
It is amazingly liberating to have no to-do list, no TV, no computer, nothing but me, Gary, the woods around us, and hopefully only bears with full tummies who couldn’t eat another bite. Everything else was a million miles away.
Given that I worship air conditioning and hot showers, and given my penchant for being a clean freak, I am surprised how much I liked camping. I loved the cold, crisp air; the smell of leaves and earth; the crackle of the fire; the clear sky and the bright stars; and the feeling of being a part of the nature around us instead of nature serving as carefully-trimmed scenery bordering the concrete and cement of our everyday lives.
I used to feel guilty taking trips or daring to do anything fun on weekends the kids are not with us, as if we were cheating or doing something wrong to enjoy ourselves without the kids. I have always been afraid it would make the kids feel like we prefer it when they are not home with us (especially since they have been told lies to that effect, more than once, by hyper-jealous individuals). But I realized something loud and clear this past weekend: taking the time to strengthen and nourish our relationship as a couple will strengthen our family as well. The happier Gary and I are, the happier the kids will be.
Gary and I had so much fun, joking around and snuggling and just enjoying being together. It is something we definitely need to do more often (and I’m already working on that!)