We were supposed to go camping this past weekend. I'd been looking forward to this camping trip for months. It was going to be Leo's first tent camping trip (we'd done a cabin trip last year). The trip had been organized by Philadelphia Family Pride and we'd be joined by a whole bunch of other LGBT families - one of which would be our good friends R and C and their daughter (and Leo's BFF) E. I imagined him getting such a kick out of sleeping in the tent. Loving the campfire. Being so excited to wake to find E in the next tent over. It was going to be awesome.
So early Friday morning I got up and packed: the cooler with great campfire foods, a big bag with non-perishable snacks, kitchen stuff (cutting board, knife, plates, utensils, beat-up frying pan) the tent and bedding, swimsuits and towels, clothes for the whole family, diapers, and all our camping gear (lanterns, skewers, clothesline...).
jb left work early and we loaded up the car with ALL that stuff and got on the road. The campground was just over an hour away so we planned to arrive with plenty of time to pitch our tent, start a fire and make dinner before nightfall. Let the awesome begin!
Then we hit traffic. Oh, we hit traffic bad. That one hour trip was turning into more like three hours. And it was raining. Like torrential downpour type of raining. Leo was crying - I'm sure the poor kid was hungry and tired and sick of being in the car. R and C texted us to let us know that it was indeed raining hard at the campground also and that they were considering getting a hotel room for the night and joining the group in the morning.
We met up with them at a Holiday Inn Express and sat in the lobby to debate our options.
1. Stay in hotel and meet up with group in the morning
2. Suck it up and pitch the tent in the rain and hope it stops soon
3. Cut our losses and head back home
All I could think about was how hard we had worked to pack that darn car, so I was lobbying for pitching the tent and pushing through. But when we checked the weather it looked like the rain wasn't going to let up, so clearly the most responsible choice as parents of toddlers was to turn around and go back home. Ugh.
First we needed to eat something, though. R and C had stopped for a pizza on the way down and offered us the leftover half - lifesaver. We headed out to the parking lot to eat the pizza; night was falling. The rain had let up, but the dusk clouds still looked menacing and the ground was beyond soggy. We felt like we were making the right (if sucky) choice.
I was sad. The situation from my point of view went something like this:
We were missing out on this great trip I'd been looking forward to and planning and instead we were eating cold pizza in a Holiday Inn Express parking lot in the rain.
Then I looked over at Leo; he was the happiest kid you've ever seen. And I realized that from his perspective the situation was more like this:
I've got a stick in one hand, a piece of pizza in the other. I'm splashing in puddles and I've got my best friend by my side. This is the best trip ever!
A little perspective goes a long way. Here's a glimpse of toddler heaven: