I Forgot My Toothbrush

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So, recently, my family decided to purchase a camper — you know the kind you tow behind the car into a busy camp ground and rough it out in nature, from the comfort of your mini house on wheels. My first thought as we were taking off for our very first adventure in the camper was, “I’m so excited — this is going to make getting out with a new baby and a toddler doable.” My second thought was, “We have become those people that we used to make fun of from our backpacking site on the side of a mountain away from the busy campground.”

I digress.

So one of the awesome things about a camper is that you can take everything you could ever want with you and there is a bathroom and a sink — pretty spiffy if you have ever been backpacking. I had childcare for six hours the day we were set to leave. I have a three hour meeting in the morning at the hospital and then had (so smartly) scheduled a meeting with myself to get shit ready, so that when my husband rolled in from work we could hop in the truck with a snack at nap time and be camping in about an hour, all rainbows and smiles and bliss.

Then I was standing in a pile of unfolded, knee-deep laundry trying to pack for four humans and three dogs to be gone for four days — diapers and underwear all around, dog food and people food. Breast pump and a bottle of Prosecco for good measure (a girl has to have balance somewhere in life). Each person had a bin all their own and I packed each bin carefully until I got to my own and have about five minutes left and still a list of twenty things to do. Throw it all in, it will be fine, I don’t need much. Mama martyr, I so wish you were not one of the many facets that make me, me. It alas here I was with a heaping pile of stuff in my bin so for sure I would have it all. Camper is packed, cooler is packed, we are ready.

Well…

Not so much.

First we also have to stop for propane and fill up the truck and also a target run for baby food and ice then we will be on our way, for reals.

Oh, I forgot we have to stop at the waste station and clean the tanks — who knew that was a thing?

There is our spot! It’s our home for the next three days and we are so ready to get out of this truck. Well, all that and a lot of breathing and negotiating and positive reinforcements (what our pediatrician calls bribery) later and we are sitting next to the campfire eating s’mores. The girls are asleep and the sky is clear and, for a moment, there was so much peace. We put out the fire. Went inside and I opened my overnight bag to get my toothbrush and I dug around and then dumped everything out and then sat staring at the table of our sweet little camper. I forgot my toothbrush. I remembered to pack my husbands toothbrush and our 4-year old’s toothbrush and event the infant gum chewy thing that’s like a toothbrush... how is this possible? Oh, mama martyr, I see you struck once again. The voice that said, “I will be fine, I don’t need anything”, the one that didn’t say, “I’m going to be ten minutes late because I packed my bag, too.” We all are practicing self-care. Letting go of perfection and the idea that I don’t need anything is my current rendition of self-care. It’s messy and beautiful and there are growing pains. Today, I honor the process the imperfection and love with which we move through this life with ourselves — sometimes gracefully, sometimes not. Also, I bought another toothbrush for myself that will live in the camper because that’s just good sense. 💜

Sahra Cahoon