And this masochism is only going to get worse, because after Shae's birthday next week I'm going to have to start throwing myself into what is maybe the most passive-aggressive thing that one could possibly do, to wit: I am going to start planning our upcoming camping "vacation." There are not enough rolly-eye emoticons in the world.
We're a camping family, or at least we were once. I remember when I was a kid, and how I used to look forward to our annual trips to the 1000 Islands, in upstate New York. Although why I looked forward to it, I can't really say, because even way back then, I hated bugs and dirt and humidity. And especially worms, which are a big part of the action, because fishing figures prominently.
People think I'm kidding when I say it, but now that I have experienced the joy and wonder that is the all-inclusive resort hotel with swim-up bar and poolside beverage service, my idea of "roughing it" is staying at a Motel 6. It's been a very long time since I've slept in a tent. In the dirt. In the outdoors. With the daddy longlegs and the 100-yard trek to the public toilets in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's hard for me to wrap my head around voluntarily participating in an activity that has not gotten much more technologically advanced in the last 30 years, unless you count recent advances in air-mattress-inflation-speed technology as "progress."
I mean, really, does that sound like a "vacation" to you? To me it sounds more like a penance.
Then again, a lot of big family moments can come out of getting back to nature. Little things, unnoticed at the time. So we're going to do it, and I am going to do my best to try to enjoy myself. It's probably going to require copious amounts of toasted marshmallows and wine coolers, but these are risks I am willing to take, I suppose.
I am not the least bit concerned about whether Shae is going to like camping -- I think that is pretty much a given. She likes fresh air, she likes grass and trees, and already she is showing an aptitude for climbing over rocks, which is the second most popular activity in Wellesley Island State Park, after "fishing" (which is really just drowning worms, but let's not tell her that, okay?).
Actually, there's no doubt in my mind that she'll have a great time. There are lots of places to explore, and lots of swimming to be done, and we're making it a family reunion of sorts, with lots of my relatives coming along. There will be maybe half a dozen little kids there, and already I can hear the happy screeching and the laughter and the endless refrains of "The Littlest Worm."
I can say that camping was highly educational for me once. I learned to cook sunny-side-up eggs, I used an Epilady for the only time, I saw my very first dirty limerick on a bathroom wall, I caught minnows in a net, I kissed a boy, I watched my dad try to master the PogoBall. It wasn't always all bad.
And if they could figure out a place to put a tiki bar, and hire some hot young things to peel me grapes and bananas and bring them right to my campsite? Maybe we'll talk.