1. Pack you, your significant other’s, and child’s entire closet, two coolers worth of food, tent, camping gear, half your house, but forget your camera. Be forced to use your phone to record the first trip and rely on the pictures Grandma takes with her camera that you know will most likely stay on her camera along with your wedding pictures from two years ago.
2. Have panic attacks about your baby’s sun exposure at elevation, cover him with a blanket in the warm afternoon sun. Do this even after you’ve applied tiny dabs of zinc oxide based sunscreen because you refuse to apply it to any place that might reach his constantly open mouth for fear of poisoning him with the sunscreen’s other ingredients.
3. Spend the entire first evening around the fire catching by hand every mosquito that flies in the vicinity of your precious little one. Learn that you are at an elevation too high for West Nile to Survive & loosen up your mosquito watch only to let your baby get a cluster of bites on his forehead the next morning.
4. Buy the Geranium Essential Oil based bug spray. It smells beautiful and the mosquitos agree. Refuse to put DEET on your almost 6 month old, so opt for a mosquito net from the tackle shop next to the lake instead. Your baby will think this is a great new fun game of peek-a-boo. For half an hour. Spend the next 30 minutes passing it around the campfire and pretend it’s a wedding veil.
5. Chase after a black bear your brother sees while on his hike, only to have him visit your camp later in the night. Clean up your dinner “dishes” and any food, but leave out your football and smelly tacklebox to play with. Be grateful he only left teeth marks on the ball and box and a paw print on the car window.
7. Let your baby, who is sensitive to any dairy you eat, have a small bite of ice-cream from cute store by the lake. Enjoy a night of little sleep and lots of gas.
8. Panic when your baby bites a strap on his stroller and starts bleeding a little from his mouth. There is only enough blood to tinge pink a quarter sized bite the white blanket he sucks on instead, but worry that he is very hurt. Ignore his giant grin:
10. Only relax by the last day you are there. Finally see the blue in the sky, calm and stillness of the water, gentleness of the breeze, giggle from your babies lips, love from your family. Look back on the weekend and hold onto that moment and a handful of others, and VOW to yourself: Next time I WILL relax.