*This post is officially rated PG13 for marital dilemmas and slightly scary campsite bathroom humor.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
It was a month ago that my sweetheart, the man I pledged my "troth" and every single good hair day to, looked at me with a sincere grin just before bed and said,
"I've planned a little getaway for us the first week of October."
Mystified and excited I went to sleep with visions of palm trees dancing in my head.
Upon further inquiry I discovered that this would be a staycation of sorts to an old familiar state park.
Where once upon a time we took all the littles and stayed in a yurt.
Whenever said vacation is mentioned among our family it is inevitably followed by someone remembering the mud.
The soul-sucking mud that stood between our little taste of Mongolia and the water's edge.
The water that held our borrowed canoe that my husband promised would bring so very much happiness to this brood of ours.
And happiness it did bring.
Along with mosquitoes and mud.
Mud that one child remembers throwing down old bus seats to traverse..
Goodness knows why we had those in tow.
I can't even make fun of my husband for bringing them because apparently they DID serve some purpose.
They shuttled our crew to and from the canoe and where one little's shoe (rest in peace) gave the ultimate sacrifice and returned back to whence it came.
You know the whole, "ashes to mud" thing, or something.
The kids remember the orange rolls "baking" in the grill, the fun..... and I remember the mud.
THIS is where my darling man wanted to revisit.
Okay. I was game.
I'm 40 not 80.
I'm still fun.
Or so I thought.
In fact we both unknowingly forgot half the pieces to whatever "game" that's supposed to mean.
Well who needs camp chairs to sit around the fire anyway we chortled......
First stop, Walmart.
Right..... let's stop at the grocery store,
How about we just raid your parent's house?
While unpacking I was still laughing at the comment of a dear church member with whom we had shared that it was going to be a cold week to go heatless "yurting."
"Is it just you both going?" He asked.
We affirmed that it was.
"Well, you'll figure out how to stay warm." was his reply with a smile.
I just love that guy.
I wasn't laughing, however, when I noticed that I ALSO forgot my warm sweatshirt.
How on earth are we so bad at outdoorsing?
Soon the roaring fire beckoned us and cups of hot chocolate.
This is romantic!
My first sip of steamy goodness reminded me that what goes in, must...
Well YOU know.
At 45, bathrooms should not be an issue in a situation like this, but they ARE.
I'm determined to hold on to the romance.
No one's ever worried about finding a bathroom on the Hallmark channel, I think to myself.
My dearest has just perfected a TOMAHAWK steak over the fire with enough butter to smother a small woodland creature.
This is double romantic!
And yet still it's there.
Waaaaay in the back of your mind behind the forgotten sweatshirt.
The knowing that you will need to hike several times to the restroom.
I noticed that the campers to the right of us seemingly came from a home and garden show.
Them with their RV and RECLINER camp chairs, making our accidental CHILD'S chairs pinching all kinds of mid-life goodness look like we got them out of a gum ball machine.
Then you pan left very carefully and see the white version of Sanford and Sons. This all men crew has deep feelings about Loretta Lynn's passing and how they expect their hamburgers.
But the best of all is their periodic DRIVE to the restrooms.
We began to drive ourselves to the bathroom too.
Ahh the restrooms.
You don't actually want to REST in these.
These that hold all of the ten plagues combined including a few that the Lord was holding back because they were just too awful.
On the contrary, rest is not an option here.
They're more like "drive thru" pottys.
And just In case you find yourself in a similar situation here's my advice:
Stare straight ahead of you. There WILL be creatures under you, beside you, above you and possibly ON you. If you don't make eye contact with them they magically don't exist. Also think romantic thoughts. This helps.
Here's the good news.
When you come back from the bathroom you will be welcomed by a blaring rendition of "Hotel California" followed closely by another song trying to kill your romantic vibe.
This will be coming from the couple staying in their VAN but not before he gets a good shirtless haircut because long white hair can get tangly at night.
They brought their boombox to the shower house and that also was a delight.
I mean, why not bring music when you can just listen to actual birds?
( I hope it's a good sign that I'm almost laughing myself silly just typing this all out.)
And just as I anticipated, you cannot force great conversations and closeness.
They just "appear" when you are least likely to suspect them- like the State park "host camper"
ie. "self appointed police woman."
Out of nowhere.
Just seeing her hit those speed bumps with her trusty golf cart brings a settled peace beyond explanation.
We talk about things that we've tucked away for a bit because we need help figuring them out.
With each other.
Not with the state park police woman.
Though she is GLAD to talk to anyone who makes eye contact with her OR who looks too closely at the fish.
We come away from two very frozen nights together knowing good things again.
Like why you don't grab the side of a cast iron skillet over a HOT FLAME no matter how badly your Spam is sticking.
You find that 20 some years later you actually have the same vision of the "perfect" day and it involves more sleep and big breakfasts with limitless tea and coffee.
You find old "mud" more and more hilarious and less and less to take the energy to argue about.
You sip and listen to acorns fall and smile over hot chocolate with an extra packet because there's no one to tell you that you should only have the allotted "one" packet anyway.
We sighed chatting about areas we want to see our children run ahead of us in and yet know the mud they will have to wade through to get there.
We know they will lose a shoe or two in the process.
And while we discuss why on earth Christmas is just so stressful each year we chip burnt Nutella camp pies out of the maker that was definitely NOT designed by a housewife.
We made pie after pie until we instinctively knew the correct balance of butter and filling and heat.
Sometimes it's burnt and messy but sometimes it's perfection and always its just so delicious and lovely.
I think this is why God designed one man for one woman.
Because Solomon would've spent his whole LIFE trying to perfect camp pies with each of his million wives.
Yeah, he shoulda thought about that.
You can get away from it all, just to have it all meet you in a camp pie friends.
And God is big enough for every inch of it.