We recently got back from a truly great family vacation. We were in the north woods of Minnesota for a week, staying at family camp. Our family camp was with a YMCA camp that was described to me as being “magical” before we left. The camp is so popular that there you have to enter a lottery to get a chance to sign up for a week and I was a little concerned at first that it was overhyped. Like, could it really be *that* great?
Short answer: YESSSSSSSSS
For a week, we lived in a little cabin with no bathroom and hiked, kayaked, made art (there was an amazing art center at family camp, which was Ev’s favorite part), and swam in an icy cold lake (because: Minnesota). We had basically no cell service and my phone couldn’t connect to the internet. I thought that would make me feel anxious but instead it was a relief. I went to bed early, I got in an average of 15,000 steps a day, I played with my kids and laughed with my husband. I ate chocolate peanut butter ice cream cones every day and still came home weighing less then when I left.
I don’t think the kids bickered with each other once during the whole week. I was reminded once of how hard it used to be to travel with them, not because they were especially difficult but just because babies and toddlers are just more work than bigger kids are. They are 5 and 9 now and are at peak family camp ages, I think. Every day at camp started with 2.5 hours of age groups, where the kids were in the custody of some aggressively cheerful and extroverted counselors. They got to go explore the woods. My husband and I got to do whatever we wanted for 2.5 hours. I read three books in seven days and it was glorious.
Although there were a lot of other families there, nobody got on my nerves, except for one other family. However, they got on my nerves in a specific way that I could gossip with my husband about them later. Everyone who is married knows this (the shared experience of social interactions and the debriefing of them afterwards) is one of the perks of married life and can be highly satisfying, especially if you and your spouse are annoyed by the same people.
We ended up spending a lot of time with another family that we clicked with and that I’m hopeful we might be able to transition them into real life friends, not just camp friends. I need to get over my post-camp shyness and invite them over for dinner or something. And also convince them to move to our neighborhood. Maybe start with dinner first.
My husband fell in love with kayaking, which reaffirms my belief that we as a family were not meant to keep living in Arizona. #Lakes4Ever
The only downside of family camp was that we were in a “rustic” cabin with no bathroom facilities and one of the kids got a mild stomach bug that led to several frantic middle of the night trips to the outhouse and the more than one occasion where we didn’t quite make it in time. There were no laundry facilities, so I ended up boiling water and using dish soap to try to clean the poop stained underwear, just like the pioneers must have done, if pioneers listened to podcasts and drank icy Diet Cokes while doing their chores.
This week has been a difficult one, in terms of re-entry into real life. I’ve been struggling with not resenting my job for making me come back while also recognizing that my job gives me the money required to go to family camp. Sigh. This is one of those weeks were I really feel like I could adapt well to be independently wealthy, if only given the chance.