Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hidden Surprises in Camping Trip


Saturday night our unschooling group hosted a "Not Back To School" camping trip at a nearby forest preserve. I woke up early on Saturday morning and for a moment considered cancelling due to being awake most of the night with an achy knee. But, that moment quickly disappeared when I considered all the fun we would miss out on. My joints would just have to deal with it.

We decided to take Izzy with us and see how she handled camping. We knew we were close enough I could run her home if things got bad and Steve could go home with her after his gig rather than joining us. The only problem was the forest preserve closed their gates at 8:05 PM at which time we became prisoners of the campground. This also meant Steve could not drive back after his gig and join us which I was bummed about. Izzy did great and seemed to adjust well to camping! That is until dark came and all the kids brought out their flashlights. In hindsight I should have thought about the flashlights, but just never did. Like many border collies, Izzy is a little OCD, especially with flashlights. They drive her absolutely nuts and we rarely use them at our house for just that reason. I ended up taking her back to our campsite and sitting alone for the remainder of the night. (Except when my sweet Alexander came to check up on me. I tell you, I don't know how I got so lucky with this guy.) Izzy was calmer at our campsite where the flashlights weren't in her face but still became anxious when anyone walked by with a flashlight. Finally, I decided to lay down for the night and realized that not only were the air and ground wet and cold but my air mattress was losing air. I knew I couldn't make it through the night sleeping in my tent. Instead I set up camp in the back of our car for Izzy and myself. It was actually a comfy situation and as soon as we were in the car, Izzy snuggled up next to me and was fine. I even woke once during the night and thought, "This is kind of cool. I like the feeling of camping out with my dog and having her snuggled up next to me." The kids said they peeked in on us when they returned late from playing with friends and said we looked quite comfy.

The best part of my solo evening was talking to Steve on the phone. As I lay snuggled up next to Izzy in the car, I talked with Steve late into the evening. I felt like a teenager up late talking to her boyfriend. It was fun. In the morning, my "boyfriend" arrived early with a hot cup of tea from Starbucks for me. It was just what I needed. (How did I get so lucky with this guy too?)

After walking Izzy we headed over to the main meeting area where Izzy stole food from a couple of unsuspecting children but overall did well. My knee however wasn't. Each time she pulled away from me I feared the tears would stream. The kids and I are always the caregivers/disciplinarians for Izzy and Steve is her playmate. But that day he took her leash so that I could have a break. He just always knows what to do for me.

During the daylight hours I had a great time hanging out with my friends and during the evening I had a great time hanging out with my puppy and on the phone with my hubby. Looking at this photo will always remind me that life turns out just fine and might even have a few hidden surprises for us.