Monday, July 09, 2012

Hard lesson learned

I love camping. It is truly one of my favorite things to do. I love it so much that I have camped my way across the country, twice (and I was pregnant with babies number five and eight, respectively)! We camped all the way home from Alaska, too. After the last fifteen months, though, I think my camping career is going to be put on hold for a while. Managing my two younges at home is stressful enough; add the challenges of begin away from home, plus the extra effort required for camping, and you have a mess. What once brought refreshment and joy now simply brings exhaustion.

For the sake of my sanity, and to protect the innocent, I'll spare you the details. Just imagine the worst camping trip ever, then multiply it by a very stressed out mama, unusually hot AND cold weather, unrealistic expectations (by that stressed out mama), and eight children (two who need structure, don't do well with changes, and have physical challenges); you have a perfect storm!

The experience wasn't a total wash, however. I learned some very valuable lessons. You may have learned these quite some time ago, and not have a clue why it's taken me so long. My explanation? I am a slow learner, and I (generally) only learn from experience. Painful experience. So, here are the lessons I've learned:
  • camping when exhausted is a bad idea
  • camping with special-needs kids can be extra stressful (especially with two kids who fall more than the average bear, and you are cooking around a campfire), even if you've camped with them before
  • camping after an incredibly stressful year is incredibly stupid and should not be attempted by the faint-of-heart  anyone!
  • when you go camping under the above conditions, don't expect to have fun, and don't expect people (even the ones you are camping with) to understand why you are not having fun.
After the worst camping trip ever, I have made a decision; I am not going camping again, for a long, long, LONG time. It is just too hard. I've also learned something else; disappointment and adjusted expectations are the harsh realities of my new life. It is a hard lesson learned the hard way. But, now it is learned, along with a few other valuable lessons. Though God has me on a difficult journey through the desert, I am planning to do the rest of it in the comfort of my own home!

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