Dear Atticus, on knowing your limits

Path through trees

Dear Atticus,

Oh, I can talk a good game when it comes to “girl things” and “boy things.” I have no problem with sports or tools or trucks, no inadequacies when it comes to so-called boy things like lightsabers and legos and dinosaurs. But there is one thing that I just cannot do, one area in which I will not budge. You can cry and beg, but this one thing about me will not change: I am not going camping with you.

I have been camping, Atticus. I have slept in tents and used the bathroom in the woods. I have showered at campgrounds. I have eaten food wrapped in tin foil and cooked hot dogs on sticks and been unable to get the smell of fire out of my hair. I have woken in the damp cool of the morning and heard the crickets chirping through the walls of my tent.

And I didn’t like any of it.

I like nature. I couldn’t live without trees, and I love sitting in the cool grass. I like that we have four seasons here in North Carolina (even though spring is always over too soon). I like those spring afternoons when it’s finally warm enough to sit in the sun and the long hot summer nights filled with fireflies. But I want to go inside and sleep in my own bed after I am done experiencing those things. I want my climate to be controlled. I don’t want to wake up with a face that is cold or damp.

I am sorry to tell you this, because I want to be a good sport, but camping is going to have to be a father-son activity. Your dad really enjoys camping, and he will take you to commune with nature. I will be waiting at home for you guys to get back. I will probably clean the house, maybe go out for brunch with a friend. When you come back, I will do your laundry and feed you things not cooked on sticks. And you can tell me all about it.


P.S. I am also not going to go to a monster truck rally. And good luck convincing your dad on that one. You may have to seek help elsewhere.

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