For various reasons I was stuck at home this weekend instead of camping with my friends and family.  One reason is that I had some homework to finish.  Another was that I have some swollen cartilage in my knee that is making it almost impossible to walk; I feel like freaking Quasimodo the way I’m dragging this leg around.  I also have some lingering abdominal pain from a surgery I had in February.  Now, I’m not saying any of this to try to make anyone feel sorry for me.  Oh, no.  I want to tell you all a little story.

You see, as I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself because all my friends were camping and getting to watch Randy Travis in concert, I suddenly remembered the best camping trip I’d ever been on and then told myself to shut the hell up and quit whining.  That trip was well over 20 years ago and it was with my mother, her best friend, PJ, and PJ’s son, Chris.

The camping trip I’m talking about wasn’t the best because we were all bond-y over s’mores or because my Mom took me fishing.  We did both of those things and what I remember about them is (1) I hated bugs and there were freaking bugs all stuck to my marshmallows and (2) I hated fishing because I had the patience of a gnat and I had to get up early to do it.  That trip was the best for one simple reason, I realized my mom was freaking awesome.  And here’s how this story goes:

I realized my mom was freaking awesome.

My mother and her best friend, PJ, decided that they were going to take their respective pre-teens camping for a weekend in the woods of Texas in the smack-dab middle of summer.  Never mind that my mother and I had never been camping, or that we had absolutely NO required camping gear, or that neither of the pre-teens wanted to go camping, or… well, you’re getting the drift, here.

Needless to say, we bought or borrowed, and then packed all the accoutrements we thought we needed for this wonderful trip into my mom’s blue 1970-something Toyota Corolla and followed PJ and her son out into the woods.  I vaguely remember sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, only to discover when said s’more was 3 inches from my freaking face-hole that it had no-see-ums stuck all over it.  And, the marshmallow was burnt because of the lack of patience I mentioned earlier.  And the crackers were stale because Texas summers are 135 degrees with 110 percent humidity and once a freaking pack of crackers gets exposed to air, it’s ruined.  And I’m pretty sure my mother would have forced me to fish at some point during this “wonderful” weekend because there’s nothing that woman likes more than fishing.

How on Earth can that possibly be the best camping trip you’ve ever been on, you ask?

Here’s where we get to the good part: my mom asked me if I wanted to run into town with her to pick something up.  I have no idea if we needed anything or, if we did, what it was.  All I know is that my mom stopped at the restaurant on the way into town and asked me if I was hungry.  I said, “Yes.”  And we proceeded to sit in an air-conditioned restaurant and eat steak and baked potatoes and cool the freak off.  We even went into the bathroom and washed up a little bit.

When we got back to the campsite, we told PJ and Chris that there’d been (insert bullshit reason here) and that’s why it had taken us so long to get (insert random crap for a campsite here).

That was the first time in my life that I felt like my mom and I were on the same team, the “oh my jebus this freaking trip sucks balls and I wish we’d stayed home and pulled our toenails out” team.  I realized my mom wasn’t  an evil alien sent to punish me for things I did in my past lives, she was a person who didn’t have to stoically accept and overcome every obstacle that came her way, she just chose to.  And that made her a badass bitch.

That was the first time in my life that I felt like my mom and I were on the same team.

We should have made t-shirts…

Yeah, we know how to camp.