Tonight we drove up the mountain to a camp site, lit a bonfire, roasted marshmallows, and enjoyed good conversation with friends.
In direct contrast to this same event with these same people this time last year, tonight I did not shame myself by channeling Josie Geller, the extremely socially awkward character Drew Barrymore played in Never Been Kissed.
Thank my lucky stars.
But, it’s still me and a little cloud of hilarity follows everywhere I go.
First, it’s important to note “bonfire” has a deceptive connotation.
To the non-parents in the world, a bonfire is a low-risk, fun activity. You get together with friends, enjoy conversation, the scent of wood smoke, and generally feel like one with nature. (Unless you’re Josie Geller-channeling. But I’m going to assume you have more social intelligence than I.)
As a parent, a bonfire becomes a thing of terror. Tonight I watched Tres wander around the fire between chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow and wondered when she would completely bite it, rolling into the fire as she fell. She wore a pink heart raincoat and I honestly contemplated how that melted, plastic raincoat would look being pulled off of her in the Emergency Room.
Yeah, I’m a real joy to be around in social events. (Awkward.)
Uno and Dos were the thrilled recipients of glow sticks and disappeared into the darkness with the other kids to (I imagined) try to impale themselves on spiked tree branches jutting out at a three-foot level.
The world is a dangerous place when you have kids.
Despite my manic fears, I’m happy to report everyone made it out alive without impalement or debilitating burns and the evening was a success.
Except for one little thing. Lack of bathroom facilities.
Granted, parking a port-a-potty up a mountain in the woods really does kill the whole “get away from it all” atmosphere, but really, a powder room wouldn’t be amiss.
Friends who camp with their children have repeatedly recommended only going to campgrounds with bathroom facilities. They warned me kids get bottled up without a toilet around because something about going number two in the wild seems a little less Animal Planet and more Twilight Zone to them.
They are right.
After a mad dash into the woods and great difficulty discovering a rock with a suitable ledge, we were finally able to get the deed accomplished. But it was not without stress-sweating, hovering, and wails of dismay.
Did I mention today is the first day of hunting season? So, in addition to the drama of a potty break without a potty, I kept imagining we were going to be nabbed by a set of hunters. I wildly waved my phone around as a flashlight, hoping it would deter any killers, deer and elk not regularly tucking cell phones into their hindquarters in case they need to phone home. (Yes, that was another abstract Drew Barrymore reference. You’re welcome.)
On the way home from the bonfire I talked to Lizard about my fear of getting shot by hunters while hovering over a rock answering the call of nature and he started laughing.
“There’s no way you could have been shot,” he said. “It’s bow and arrow season.”
And that, my friend, is how you start having visions of burned, impaled children sporting a fletched arrow out their backside.
Got that vision firmly planted in your head? You’ll never enjoy a bonfire again. You’re welcome.
When’s the last time you enjoyed a bonfire with friends?
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