By my best year, I mean it was the year I whined the least. I went into it, not into it. I was tired, crampy, and I didn't want to sleep on the ground - those damn inch-high REI mattresses aren't exactly cushioning - but I did it for the kids. (I hope my sacrifice is reflected in any future memoir written by my children.) As our group gathered, I found this year that I was not alone in the camp dread. Everyone else had just come off of other excursions, and were tired too, making them more vulnerable to my pleas to ditch the kids and move this outing to the Ritz. The Ritz has firepits and s'mores, like camping, plus room services, fluffy white robes, and massages, which are way better than camping.
But we toughed it out. The kids had a fabulous time, doing things that when I think about while not there, give me great anxiety. We camped on a ledge, and the kids climbed up and down the hill to the creek, where they threw rocks, built bridges, did things they think of as dangerous, mostly all outside of our supervision. Technically, we could see them, and they could hear us yell to them, but the leash was pretty long. While at home, I think it's insane that we give them this much space, and it makes me want to reach for the ativan, but when there, it feels okay. The kids watch out for each other, and it's good for them to explore independently, if a gang can be considered independent (even if I had to remind myself a few times that everything would be fine).
When not at the creek, they were racing scooters down hill, zipping by our sites every few minutes, which kind of made me wish they were back at the creek and not on the tiny road with an occassional car driving by.
Soon it was the last night, then time to pack up for home. The kids fished for crawdads, swam in a swimming hole, ate s'mores and ice cream, whittled, got coated in dirt, hiked, explored, and had fun. No wild boars attacked us, and no one got stung by a bee. Best of all, I survived the three days without a shower. Huzzah!