Last summer, when we were fixing up the inside of the trailer, Collin and I were brainstorming names for it. Part of the rite of passage for renovating a camper is to give it a name… at least that’s what all the cool kids are doing. The problem was nothing was fitting and we laughed at some of the possible nicknames we blurted out while painting the inside cabinets a bright, shiny white. Then one day it clicked. We were driving down the road, windows down, listening to the Beatles, kids being loud… when Collin said he figured out what to name the camper. I couldn’t tell if he was serious, because he’s known to be a jokester, so I was waiting with a laugh. Then he said, Sweet Pea.
My dad gave all three of his daughters a term of endearment. My older sister was Angel, my little sister was Princess and I was his Sweet Pea. Only he called me this. He’d leave it on a note or whisper, “Goodnight sweet pea” when he tucked me in at night.
It was perfect.
Part of the reason it was so fitting for our turquoise gem of a camper was that some of my favorite memories with my dad were camping. It was our thing. He’d bring his harmonica, make pancakes in the morning and take us hiking. He taught me that even though life is hard to appreciate the simple beauty of this world that is so easily overlooked and, most importantly, family is everything.
I couldn’t imagine knowing I was sick and would die in a few years like my dad did. He had Type 1 Diabetes since he was a little boy. By the time I was 14 he had many surgeries, kidney transplants and health problems. When he was 30 years old the inside of his body was a 90 year old.
Until it was time for him to say goodbye he put his family first, never complained and taught me to not wait until life is perfect–but to enjoy it now.
I remember sleeping in our tent by a river and feeling loved. Thinking back now I wish I would’ve appreciated everything a bit more, taken it all in. Squeezed my dad a bit tighter.
That’s why Collin and I decided to get our camper. Even though it’s a lot of work to go camping… and especially with kids. Collin’s always wanted memories like this with his family and we don’t want to just wish for it but make them happen.
Collin found an incredible artist that paints hand-lettering. He spent a day with Sweet Pea and branded her name on the back. (He’s on Instagram: @lookatthatsign)
Last night we went up the canyon and escaped the world.
I did bring one of my favorite additions to our camper. A Crosley speaker that connects to my iPhone. It’s not the most incredible sound but it is battery powered, portable, hooks up to my phone playlist and most importantly: adorable.
(The bad news is I can’t find it anywhere online now. I bought it at Target and it used to be at Urban Outfitters… so leave a comment if you know where to find one.)
Happy trails to you… until we meet again!