Since meeting my amazingly capable husband, I've allowed myself to become painfully dependent in a lot of ways. It's just so easy to trust him to take care of things, because he always does and he's always so good at it!
Well, when Mr. Capable is working out of town for two weeks at a time, that means I have to re-learn how to function on my own.
No way to put my capabilities to the test than to go camping for a night without Mr. Capable around to do things like pack the gear and start the fires and do the driving. (I did take my cousin, so I wasn't on my own with the girls. It was her first time tent camping, so it was an adventure all around!)
I learned a whole lot.
I learned that I can indeed start a fire without trouble (after watching Mr. Capable for the past four years.) I can even use a camp axe to split wood! (And doing that was utterly thrilling. A little scary, but definitely exciting.)
I learned that cooking foil packets for dinner takes a bit of know-how. I usually prepare all the packets (meat, potatoes, veggies) but he's usually the one in charge of grilling them. He's good at it. I'm not.
I learned that one should down-shift the transmission when driving on incredibly steep, quite scary roads, or one's brakes might start smoking.
I learned that when Mr. Capable is driving, I get to look at the window at the gorgeous scenery. Focusing on the road is sort of dull compared to views of Red Mountain and several-hundred-foot waterfalls and old mine remains.
I learned that it's very likely to rain in the mountains at any moment, without notice. I'm happy to report, we did stay dry!
I learned that being the responsible one is kind of a pain- packing the food back in the van after dinner (bear country), making sure everything was secured in case of weather, then cleaning everything up once it all got rained on, and laying everything out to dry at home.... all that responsibility is not so much fun.
I learned that hauling gear up and down steep basement stairs is one heckuva workout if you're not a big, strong man. And that carrying 30 pounds of toddler in a backpack on a hike is even more of a workout.
I learned that it's not an easy thing to get that enormous tent into that tiny little bag. I tried twice, and got pretty close the second time. And now I have to hope that Mr. Capable (who is also Mr. Never-does-anything-half-assed) isn't terribly annoyed that our tent is sticking four inches out of the tent bag.
I learned that going camping with someone you don't know really well can be kind of nerve-wracking. When it's your own family, if everything isn't perfect you can kindly tell them to shut up and not complain. When it's someone you want to impress, if everything isn't perfect it becomes inordinately stressful.
I learned that the food we consider "normal" - grilled meat and veggies for dinner, oatmeal with blackberries for breakfast - might not actually be normal at all.
I learned that while a Capable, strong man isn't a requirement, it sure does make things easier on me. And that I undeniably have it easy, because I'm married to the kind of man who does all those things without one bit of complaint, and does it all right every time.
I also learned that there's a reason that men and women play such distinctly different roles. Even with camping, it works out so much better when I'm in charge of preparing and packing food, clothing, and bedding, and he's in charge of all of the gear. When both of us are around to do the jobs we're so perfectly suited for, things flow much more smoothly.
I'm glad we tried camping on our own, the girls and I. I'm glad to know I almost might deserve to be called Mrs. Capable. But I'm over it now - it's all much more pleasant when Mr. Capable is there to share the fun (and the work!) with us.