Miss 7 has been looking forward to it for months. Mr 9 was peeved that there wasn't a similar event for boys, but brightened when he learned that his Dad would be taking him camping elsewhere.
H. and I packed together, putting in swimmers and towels, sarongs and sunscreen, in anticipation of hours of fun spent having sandcastle competitions, swimming, and catching crabs. (Actual shellfish, not the other kind. Obviously.)
Anyway, anyone who lives in the southeast corner of Queensland will know that it
The rain got heavier as we drove towards the coast, where we were promptly caught in a
As the rain sheeted down, and we stopped and started and inched our way ever so slowly closer, Miss 7 began to get car sick.
Then it began to get dark. And did I mention the rain?
It was then that the Very Bad Thing Happened.
Yes, I got lost.
It was my fault. Having lived on the coast for many years, and passed the very camping ground many times, I thought I knew how to get there.
But in the rain, and the darkness and the roads that never used to be there but now were, I lost my way. Miss 7 got a little teary and began making noises about spewing.
Of course my unreasonably angry GPS did not recognise the name of the camp or even the street it was in.
I phoned the very helpful camp organiser and she tried to give me directions, but she didn't know exactly how to describe getting there from where I was..
Anyway, we finally made it safe, sound and vomit-free, and just in time for the tail end of dinner.
The meals procedure was kind of scary. Seriously it was like something out of the Seinfeld Soup Nazi Kitchen (except the men running it were actually very nice, and they food was really, really bad, unless you like overcooked, fatty food).
Because the camp was full, with several groups there including
We had to line up and help ourselves to food from the bain marie, then get knives, forks etc. All in orderly queues in a certain manner.
Afterwards, plates had to be scraped, stacked into a hole in the wall, and the cutlery put into containers.
We also were expected to wipe down tables and stack the chairs afterwards.
There was a strict 'no seconds' policy. (Although, to be fair, they always offered seconds if there was any food left).
There was coffee and tea, but the coffee was those individual sachets of instant coffee. Not coffee at all in my books.
And the juice was cordial.
The general consensus was that it was fine because a. we didn't have to make it, and b. we didn't have to clean up and pack away afterwards.
We were all issued with waterproof wrist bands and name tags which we had to wear the entire weekend, or risk being refused meals or asked to leave.
It was all a bit big brother-esque but with so many groups sharing the facility - silly me had assumed we'd have it to ourselves - you could see why they have to run it like that, or there would be chaos.
After dinner, we unpacked our car, which was parked as far away as possible from our accommodation. We don't have sleeping bags, so we took bedding - pillows, sheets and doonas - safe in the knowledge we would be warm and comfy. Of course, that would have worked if it hadn't been
It also would have been useful if I hadn't dropped my doona and pillow in a puddle.
The facilities were surprisingly nice. I knew we were staying in dorms, but we had our own bathroom with hot and cold showers. Thank goodness. So there was no middle of the night trips to the loo, dodging snakes and cane toads.
We were lucky enough to fit in a before-bedtime visit to the beach, where, armed with torches, umbrellas and buckets and spades, we went crab-hunting. The kids were so excited, and the local youths drinking and hanging out near the surf club were very amused at our activities.
Then it was warm showers, and bed. We slept fitfully, and the mothers denied categorically that any snoring came from us.
Overnight the rain got heavier, and the morning program - playing on the beach, swimming, making sandcastles - had to be cancelled.
Miss 7 was devastated.
Instead, we played ball games in one of the halls, and watched movies in another private room. Oh there were arts and crafts too.
Miss 7 and her friend spent some of the afternoon rehearsing their act for Mother-Daughter Idol, the highlight of the weekend's proceedings. They were the 'Kitty Angels' and performed an acapella song and dance performance of Katy Perry's Hot And Cold. Very cute. They got 9 out of 10 from the judges, and loads of lollies for their troubles.
The next morning was even wetter, as well as windy. Miss 7 and I went to the beach anyway. It was freezing, but she insisted. It was outstandingly beautiful despite the rain and the wind, and we stopped for a while to marvel at the power of mother nature, and to pity the local kids who were in the water doing surf lifesaving training.
Unfortunately, the moment was ruined when first one umbrella, then the other, turned inside up and snapped. We returned to camp, soaked to the skin.
Again the program was
Goodbye lunch was actually pretty good - filo pastries containing chicken and mushroom or vegies and leek. Or maybe we were just really hungry, really cold, and really tired.
I even broke standards, and made an instant coffee before we left on the journey home.
Miss 7's favourite parts? The concert and the crab-catching.
Mine. Possibly going home. (Shhh, don't tell anyone ...)
And all those hours agonising at the thought of baring my body in public proved to be a big fat waste of time.
At least we made it home safely, where I got soaked, just for a change, unloading the car. Miss 7 was sniffly so I let her stay indoors keeping warm and getting reacquainted with the cat.
And yes, I did think it was typical that the weekend I had to go camping on the Gold Coast was also the weekend that the coast recorded the biggest October rainfall on record!
To keep with my sucky run of bad luck, my camera decided to die during the weekend - perhaps it was the humidity - so I couldn't even take any photos to share!
Mr 9 admitted to being cold and wet on his camping trip too, so at least we were all a little miserable, and they are now being sick together as well.
Despite my bad luck, mother-daughter camp was a really special experience getting to know some lovely ladies much better, and to watch our kids bond over secret girls' business.
What I really loved was how the older girls really took the younger ones under their wings ... being kind to them, helping them out, supporting each other. And I like to think that will continue when they're out of camp and back at school.
Our roomies were nice, and I kind of wish there was a similar event for Dads and sons, or even Dads and daughters, and Mothers and sons.
Would I go again? Definitely. (With fingers cossed that it doesn't rain, and that there are still loads of nice men to look at).