Blog | Lindsey Smallwood

Not Going Camping

Lindsey Smallwood

Happy Friday friends - I'm coming to you live from my comfy spot at the Hot Springs with my family and sharing some words over at Middle Places on giving yourself permission for just good enough. Here's hoping you take these words of grace and enjoy the holiday! xoxo

I want to like camping.

In theory, I love it - smelling the fresh air, getting away from the routines and responsibilities of home, making space for adventure, creating memories together. But in practice, it ends up being

  1. exhausting – because even without two kids under two it’s hard to sleep in a sleeping bag. Seriously. It is so hard to get in and out of those things. Someone has got to find a way to make it easier.
  2. dirty. Every time we go I end up with laundry. FOR. DAYS. So much to clean – blankets, hats, hiking clothes, swim suits, towels – on and on it goes. Plus five days later my hair still smells vaguely of campfire smoke even after I lather, rinse and repeat with my best John Frieda.
  3. chaotic. There are only four of us, but we take so much stuff for one night away. Five full meals, four changes of clothes, three sets of blankets, two pack and plays and a partridge in a pear tree. Loading and unloading the car takes half the trip!

Nonetheless, even with all these challenges, we keep making reservations to live the dream at campgrounds all around our new home state of Colorado. We’ve toured Grand Lake, driven up the Poudre Canyon, spent the weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked the Beaver Creek trail in State Forest. We did all of these adventures with our Suburban loaded down with coolers full of camp-stove food and travel cribs that fit in our ten-man tent.

Until this weekend.

We had reservations to join friends from church at Lake Dillon, a beautiful mountain lake about two hours from our home. I had bought the food and finished the laundry and packed all the things my boys would need for our overnight trip. We were supposed to head up Saturday morning, spend the night and come back Sunday afternoon.

I woke up yawning Saturday morning, the night had not felt nearly long enough and I was not ready for the high-energy job of caring for an infant and a toddler who were already singing loudly from their cribs. I rolled over to see Chris grimacing, knowing that it would be many hours until our heads hit these pillows again.

“You want to call an audible on this one?” I asked. “We don’t have to go, our friends will understand.”

“No, no,” Chris replied. “We said we were coming, we should go.”

“What if we just went for the day?” I pushed back. “We could hike and picnic and see the lake and then head home for bedtime.”

Chris looked at me, fully awake.

“Yeah,” he said. “That actually sounds really nice.”

We scaled back our weekend plans and did the easier thing. Our friends teased us a little bit, but when we had both kids bathed and in bed at 8:30 and were cuddled up on the couch watching a movie, it wasn’t hard to feel like we’d made the right choice.

It’s not always easy for me, the lesser choice. To come for only a part of some event. To help with only one aspect of a project. To make the spaghetti and not the meatballs. It’s like there’s an invisible task master on my shoulder, barking orders, reminding me that I need to do it all to feel successful, that only in completing all the items on my to-do list will I feel accomplished.

The truth is that letting things go means usually means getting something in return. Only bringing snacks to Bible study instead of volunteering to lead the group means I can spend the time I would have needed to prep hanging out with my new neighbors. Buying storebought pesto instead of handcrushing basil leaves frees me up to finish a writing project. It might not taste as good, but it’s good enough.

Sunday morning my whole family slept in until 9:00. That would have never happened in a tent. We spent the morning together, rested and connected. It wasn’t the plan, but it sure felt good to us.

Friends, is there something you need to let go of? Are you trying to do all the things, only to find you’re left tired and wondering why? Tell us more in the comments below and give yourself permission for good enough this week.