It sucks to run up against the limits of your own badassery. But our first RV-ing weekend confirmed — and this weekend absolutely confirmed — that I want my husband to remain elbow-deep in this endeavor.

He’s a heavy commuter. Not quite Up in the Air, but halfway there. Accordingly, I had visions of myself as some cowboy-hatted, weather-worn, uber-competent outdoorswoman, hitchin’ up the trailer alone, if needed, to get my girls Out There.

Yes! Out There! without being dependent on any man’s travel schedule. Out There! proving to my cubs beyond doubt that girls can do anything, thank you very much.

Turns out, “hitchin’ up the trailer” is code for “buttload of heavy lifting.”

True, I know two awesome women who handle their rigs alone. Yes, you can purchase fabulous assistive devices. Absolutely, it’s important to illustrate that girls can do anything.

But on our first trip I thought . . . if something goes wrong, I’m standing ankle-deep in sand, staring at a 2.5-ton aluminum doorstop, and contemplating a 4-mile hike to where I saw my last Verizon bar.

And this weekend, the sentences, “I don’t remember leaving the headlights on,” and “What do you mean the camper’s locked? It can’t be. The keys are inside,” and, “If you have an idea, implement it, because we have about 13 minutes of daylight remaining,” all occurred within, literally, 90 seconds of each other.

At such moments, “proving” things gets a lot less important.

At such moments, I’m unspeakably grateful that my backup is not clutching a juice box.

DH and I enjoy our separate spheres. Two or three times in 13 years of marriage, some explosively life-changing issue has required an email exchange. We’re not super chatty otherwise. We just get stuff done.

But Campermania has revealed that we are, much more than I had appreciated, silently intertwined. I pack the food, apply the Band-aids, and manage the meltdowns. He wrangles the hardware, hefts the water jugs, and builds the fires. He does great. I do great. It’s old-fashioned, un-enlightened, anti-liberated, and altogether satisfactory.

So maybe I won’t be illustrating that girls can do anything, at least not in this context.


I will be illustrating a marriage that survives dead batteries, lockouts, and nightfall at the “corner of No and Where.”

I think that has value.