We have a local open-area preserve in Palo Alto, Foothill Park, which is open to the residence of Palo Alto for hiking, picnicing, and camping. I usually take the boys up for several trips during the summer; it is so convenient and the boys love camping.
My wife is the organized one between the two of us. She has lists for everything and remembers the details of any trip. I'm more free thinking and have an "on the spur of the moment"-type of mindset. An example of this is that I can pack for a trip (1 day or week long) in about 15 minutes. She will take a week to come up with a list of items that she needs and another several days to get everything ready and packed nicely.
Last Friday, I was going to take the boys for an one-night camping trip to Foothill Park. I get home at around 5 pm and planned to throw the tent into the car, pack, buy some snacks and be on our way. My wife was upset at me for not having a list and a plan. I didn't pay attention in my usual way. I get everything, including the boys, into the car and, just as planned, go to store for some fun food (smores of course) and head for the campsite. I was thinking that we were making great time as we drove into the campsite and set up the tent in no time. That is when it hit me. I forgot to pack the sleeping bags. "Not a problem," I said to myself since the previous weekend was so hot and I was convinced that we could just bundle up and weather the night.
As it turned out, I counted down the hours from 1am to 6pm as we huddled, freezing, through a night of "sleep." I did not sleep a wink. Partly because I felt so stupid and partly because the boys kept waking up and telling me how cold they were. As soon as there was an inkling of light, I pack the boys in the car, turned up the heater, and was on our way. I bought them a great pancake and waffle breakfast and quitely entered the house. Everything was going well, as I pretended not to make a big deal of my stupid mistake, until my 2nd son began coughing and starting to have a fever.
I don't know which night was more difficult. The night camping in the cold, or the first night back when I felt so guilty about getting my son sick. Suffice it to say that it was a very humbling weekend. I am going to have to rethink this "have a list and plan" thing. Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.