My shrinking pillow

13 Aug

We were away for a week of driving camping last week.  I think I must be getting soft in my old age. 

Whereas in my younger days I was willing to rough it using a backpack as a pillow, now I truly miss my real pillow when I don’t have it along. 

Happily, when you’re travelling as a family of four, chances are there’s a lot of extra stuff around that you might be able to use as a pillow: clean towels, warm sweaters, extra cloth shopping bags.  Of course, one’s pillow does tend to shrink over time as towels get used up and chilly evenings are encountered and cloth bags are needed for containing the odds and ends that somehow collect on multi-day camping trips.

Once upon a time, we could have fit all of our camping gear, including the canoe, into my trusty Honda Civic.  (Well, of course the canoe would have gone on top.) Now we have a Grand Caravan and it gets packed to the hilt.

The two-man tent of our university days has been displaced by an 8-man tent that houses the playpen, the giant Roughneck Tote of children’s clothing for every imaginable type of weather, the bag of shoes for every activity, the two adults’ backpacks, the dog’s sleeping corner, the two laptops, the books (so hopefully packed), the stuffed animals, the ukelele for serenading cranky children to sleep…

And, whereas my trusty Therm-A-Rest used to suffice for virtually any ground conditions, I now find that it doesn’t provide quite enough padding on certain surfaces.  That first night out in a gravelly overflow campsite (right next door to the outhouses, thankyouverymuch) left me moaning in the morning, unable to pull myself upright.  Of course, in past years, I wasn’t trying to sit up while not disturbing a sleeping infant in my sleeping bag. And it wouldn’t be after having spent several hours with a hip pressed into the rock-hard ground while attempting to catch some sleep and breastfeed at the same time.

(You may not be surprised to learn that the heavens parted and a choir of angels sang when I discovered at our second more permanent campsite, my designated sleeping spot happened to have a small depression positioned exactly where my hip needed to go.  A spot of ground that fit me perfectly.)

There are some things that haven’t changed.  Although once upon a time I appreciated the quiet rejuvenation of camping in a wilderness location, I now have an even greater appreciation for being unplugged, even camping in less-than-remote locations.  I didn’t get to read more than a few pages of one book, or sit alone next to the stillness of an isolated lake, and I didn’t even get to take good pictures of the trip, but the freedom of being away from paperwork, e-mails, vacuuming, and watering plants was more satisfying than it ever was in the “old” camping days.

Still, when I came  home, I  do admit that I gave my pillow an extra squeeze. Ah, my darling pillow, who never thinks of shrinking.  Yep, I’ve gone soft in my old age… but at least my pillow doesn’t judge me.


7 Responses to “My shrinking pillow”

  1. IndyComp0T1 August 14, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Great post! 🙂 And I love the pic too!

  2. Agata August 14, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Hi Fawn,

    Same here, my pillow is sacred… a few of them:) just like you , I was telling Robin how I used to be able to use just about anything under my head while camping…. this year I must admit I took my pillow with. Jade and Halia are adorable!

  3. Lindsay August 14, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    Good for you for going camping with the kids – we did it two nights in my parents’ 5th wheel (not ‘real’ camping) and it turned out horrendously – so kudos to you!

  4. Opa August 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    How about using your husband’s shoulder or tummy for an ersatz pillow, though the latter might also shrink after a few days’ camping.

  5. allmycke August 14, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Lovely post.
    You’re real troopers, going camping with two childrens that young – but I know it can be done.
    Love the picture of the girls… Need a Nanny any time soon?

  6. Jenny August 15, 2009 at 3:31 am #

    I am sooooo not a camper! Even after a motel stay I am ready to get back to my own bed. I can’t imagine sleeping on the ground, (no air matress?)

  7. Sharleen Hawco August 15, 2009 at 6:19 am #

    I love you pillow post! I definitely agree that where once I could do without a comfy pillow and a soft sleeping surface – They are much more important now!!

    The girls look very happy in their 8-man tent! Halia is getting sooo big!!

    I love how you write and would love to see you put a collection together like Stewart McLean.


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