This past week my husband celebrated a birthday…I won’t tell you which one (birthday that is, not husband) but I will tell you what we did. We went camping. Not the cushy let’s stay in a cabin with running water camping or even the get an rv and sleep in a bed camping. No. We went tent camping. And the ground…it was hard.
Now I never got to camp as a child, my mother was the ‘if there isn’t air conditioning in the hotel that is roughing it’ kind of mom. So when my husband and I were dating, camping and hiking and sitting by the fire seemed exotic and wildly exciting.
I was 26.
I am no longer 26 and the ground is hard. (I’ve mentioned that right?) So on day one after child number one threw up on me, and child number 2 whined incessantly and the sticky marshmallows and the bugs and the vaulted toilets…no running water. I climbed into our tent ready for some sleep. I lay down, on the ground, and for the first time worried that I might not ever get up. Not because of comfort or exhaustion but because my joints ached and I wasn’t sure I had the ability to lift my body from the ground. But of course, being the Mom and this camping trip being my husband’s birthday wish I said nothing. I did not sigh as I awakened every two hours my arms numb, hips bruised and I thought ribs cracked. No complaint issued forth from my lips as I shifted and turned attempting to keep my shoulder blade from dislocating. I awoke the next morning and was thankfully able to stand and walk. I exited our tent to the sight of my husband hunched over and hobbling.
“That ground is hard,” he said.
“Mmhm,” I replied.
I decided late the night before as the coyotes yipped and howled not far from our campsite that I would not be the reason for the Great Outdoorsman to end his birthday adventure early. No I would be stoic, I would be pleasant, I would be achy but I would live.
“I don’t remember sleeping on the ground hurting like that,” my husband said finally standing upright.
“Nope,” I said.
“Maybe…”he looked off into the distance. “Maybe we could go home this evening, you know when the girls are ready to go to sleep.”
“And then we can sleep in our own bed?” I asked attempting to keep my joyful tone hidden.
“If that’s what you want,” my husband asked.
“Sure,” I said and realized that I needed to take this hit for the team. My Great Outdoorsman could barely admit his new age, but to admit his body ached and he was too soft to sleep in his tent outdoors was too much. So I did what he needed, my birthday gift to him, I told him I wanted to go home.