My only childhood camping experience was as a girl scout in South Jersey. We “camped” in a dank, mosquito-infested cabin. By midnight I was so asthmatic that my parents had to come rescue me. I was through with camping forever… and then I met Peter.
My husband is an outdoorsy type. I wanted to share the things he loves with him, so off to the woods we went. Unfortunately, all the years we’ve spent camping together have not changed two truths that haunt me: 1) I will have to go to the bathroom in the dead of night, and 2) I will be mauled by a bear in my tent.
This summer’s excursion took us to the Sierras with friends. We climbed to 9,000 feet, turned down a dirt road, and drove hours to find the perfect spot. It was so lovely that I was on a nature high well after sunset.
Then bedtime came. I passed the night in terror, waiting for death to come on big bear feet. The second night, I suffered gastrointestinal disturbances (from a combo of altitude, booze, and barbeque) so intense that I spent more time squatting in the freezing woods than snuggling with my warm husband. On the third day the rains came: biblical rains, hail, thunder, and lightning. Our tents were flooding… but it was too late to leave.
Miraculously, we survived. The next morning we packed our soggy gear into the car and slogged to the mainroad. Halfway down the mountain we found a radio station that was playing the top hits of 1976. We screamed along to “Afternoon Delight,” finally dry and happy. My husband and I agreed that was the best moment of the entire trip.
Maybe next year I can convince him to rent a cabin.
Marriage is a heady concoction of love, trust, compromise and compassion. You can’t always get your way 100% of the time in a relationship, but if you are willing to bend you may be surprised at what you learn from your partner and about yourself.