Today my family said goodbye to our family camper. Just one more thing to scratch off our huge to do list before the big move.
Saying goodbye painfully reminds me about how hard it is to create family memories. Tom and I bought this weeks after learning we were coming up to “The North Country.” We imagined campfires, friends, splashing in the lake, and various picturesque moments straight out of L.L. Bean. Besides, a trailer (or camper or caravan, whatever you choose to call it) is the perfect accessory to a nomadic life. Isn’t it?
Well, I forgot a few important things. First memories are not made, they happen, they are created in the moment. And while it is possible to create a setting for fabulous family moments, trying to force a great moment is the one sure way to make it disappear. Lulled by the majesty of shiny new trailers, slide-outs and mini-refrigerators, I also forgot my youngest child has huge sleeping issues and the magical curtain separating their sleeping area from the rest of the trailer would not be enough to let her rest. Most importantly, I lost my mind and should have committed myself for even thinking of living in a camper with two girls, two cats, one dog and two freaked out parents.
We had two camping trips (crazy trips, full of stocking the trailer, trying to figure out meals and sleeping and basically instilling fear of all things camping related in me) before hauling our trailer up north to live in while we waited to move into our home. Except there wasn’t a home when we got here and the idyllic notion of sweatshirts, campfires, and sleepy girls curled up on our laps, immediately melted away into chaos as we set up camp in a parking lot between a couple of buildings. This was the post’s lodging area for campers. Yuck. It was horrible, we were worried about where we were going to live, cursing the Army Gods, and praying for a house to suddenly appear on our radar.
Our cats were miserable, our children even more so. We finally found a home, but then had the question of what to do with our precious trailer. After a couple of days of visiting every campground on the shores of Lake Ontario, we settled on a place about 30 minutes from home. Tom parked the trailer and shipped out two days later. I didn’t think of it for a few months. One spring day, I ignored the slight nauseous feeling I got at the thought of camping and headed out to Brennan Beach. Alone. With two girls who were not the same they were those many winter months before, meaning Regan was mobile and Emma was, well she was four.
It didn’t work out, the site was horrible, there were no children in our section and all my neighbors just stared at me with pity for the crazy woman with the deployed husband and a run away child. I didn’t like myself when I was there either, I became a beast, constantly yelling no, chasing girls, and trying to keep them entertained, rested and fed. I gave up and finally said no to camping. It was the best thing I did for us at the time.
The following fall Tom was home, we pulled out the trailer, put it in storage and pretty much knew we would either sell it if we went overseas or take it for short camping trips if we stayed stateside. Thankfully, we decided to sell. Even before we were certain about our duty station, we decided it wasn’t good for our family right now and sold.
Tom found a buyer, a retired navy dental hygienist whose older kids will love the AC, bunk beds and tinted windows (perfect for sleeping in). We scored enough to pay off the loan and take the family out for dinner and movie. All in all, I think we definitely did the best thing for us.
I searched for great pictures of us at the trailer and I really don’t have any. I don’t have a single picture of our site at Brennan Beach, that just tells you how much I loved it. I do want to keep something of the trailer and was really excited to see these free prints from Ashley at The Handmade Home (her blog previously known as Pure and Lovely):
I am most definitely printing these out and giving them a home…maybe in my bathroom. They’re cute and funny and will hopefully make me forget the pain of trailer camping. To check them out yourself, click on the picture or click right here. (As an aside, Ashley started a free art of the month club, really a monthly post of a darling print created by Ashley for the blogosphere…thanks, Ashley!)