Experience Not Perfection is Goal of Single Mom Camping

By on July 10, 2017

One of the questions I have been asked since getting back from my camping trip is, would I do it again? Let me reset the stage for you; it was just my 12 year old daughter, my pretty princess English bulldog and me for 3 nights in a popup camper at 9K feet at Mueller State Park outside of Colorado Springs. I had never towed anything before and hadn’t been camping in years let alone as a single parent.  I was excited, intimidated and a little anxious about how it would all come together. The upside, the inner research geek in me was prepared.  I had lists, more lists and sticky notes throughout the house and my car. I also went and had my tires checked, oil changed and a tow put on my car.  Technically I was feeling ready – emotionally – I was still struggling with how this was all going to come together.

Over the years, I have found that being prepared in whatever I take on gets rid of a good chunk of my anxiety. If I’m prepared and have done my homework I always feel more confident and usually have a better chance of success.  I approached camping the same way. Secondly, I know me and being a perfectionist is one of my biggest character flaws and challenges.  Going camping meant I had to toss out my expectations of perfection and concentrate on having an experience with my daughter.  That for me was a HUGE shift and really set the tone for the trip.  No expectations, but an experience meant that when the ‘ball-hitch’ wouldn’t disengage from my car for two hours, I didn’t have a meltdown. I did cuss a bunch when no one was around, but I didn’t cry.  Even with the sun setting, the camper still attached to my car and dog and child sitting in the car asking how it was going and letting me know they were hungry – I didn’t give up. I don’t know if my daughter understood the perseverance lesson, but I know she saw me live it.

Going camping wasn’t about me kicking back and relaxing; it was about that time with my daughter and showing her camping and our beautiful state. It was a lot of hard work and not a typical ‘vacation’, but I am so glad that we did it.  The set up and break down of our site, making fires and cooking 3 meals a day over a fire took some serious time.  Going to the bathroom with a lantern at midnight in black bear country pushed my comfort level.  What I loved was seeing the shift in my daughter.  Not just the unplugging from technology shift, but her willingness and volunteering to help me.  Sometimes I had to ask for her help, but more often than not she would see where I needed help and start pitching in. I also saw her conquer some of her own fears of the outdoors and do more things independently. We went to a CO Wolf and Wildlife Center, Cave of the Winds and even went fishing for a little bit.  We made s’mores, worked on making dream catchers, played cards, journaled and were also able to just sit and just enjoy the incredible views.  For me, a glass(or two) of Kim Crawford at the end of the day while looking out over the mountain range was beyond spectacular and so good for the soul.

Would I do it again? I can’t say that I would go camping with just the two of us again.  I am thankful for the experience and memories, but if we were going to go again we’d both rather try it again with friends.  That being said, I wouldn’t have changed a thing with our camping trip.  Even my pretty princess dog enjoyed the trip.  Probably didn’t hurt that he had bacon both mornings.

xoxo Melissa

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