Camping light and all is aligned

Mama C and the TENT/Mama C and the Boys 2011

I got help putting the tent up.
But I took it down alone.
Sweaty, stinky, exhausted and triumphant-
that my family made it through the night in that borrowed tent
with the wonky pole over the vestibule.

The boys slept, hard.
I nodded off around dawn.
Level ground will be a larger consideration next time.

The perfect way to break in a whole slew of us*
to the great outdoors: an overnight camping light.
Several families we know, and a few we didn’t-
on acres of land surrounded by:
a frog pond,
a rockin’ tree swing,
a pool,
and yes, the house at the top of the hill with a toilet,
and a fridge,
and the band aids we forgot.

Sam discovered that goggles can keep the smoke out of your eyes
when the s’mores are done, but the embers are not.
Hugging him just now, the smokey camp fire returned.

Marcel and Siah/ Mama C and the Boys 2011

Taking the poles out of the tent,
I noticed some grief around my edges sensing how
Marcel suddenly got all independent on me.
Surrounded by new friends, and old
he became one of the boys.
Not the one I had to encourage to play,
or shelter on my lap.
A kid who didn’t care about scrapes,
and who the older boys asked for.
Not the one I had to ask his brother (with a whisper) to include.
Just like that, Marcel became a member of the pack.

Did I mention the hot tub?
and the time I spent there
when the boys were down
with two dear friends talking about parenting, race,
and what we’ll put on our list of things large and small
to the universe
reminding her what we still wish for
and want to accomplish in this lifetime.
Apparently eclipses and certain planets aligned
dictate such a list to be scribed.

Wedged between the two of you in the  tent later on,
Of course I know that I have all I really need.
Sure, not always being the single mama
at the family gatherings would be nice too.
How about a few more days and nights like these?
With all this laughter,
and a little less control.
While you’re at it universe, I’d still love the new roof,
and more time to write.
Meditation in the morning and at night.
Money to be as generous as I’d like to be.
Giving things away really appeals to me.
Universe I can’t complain a peep.
We made it through the night in a tent-
43, 6 and 3.

This family camp out was inspired by the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Camp Outdoors Night. One of my nearest and dearest agreed to host it, and we all contributed to her, and the NWF as a thank you for making it happen! (Ours was postponed a week due to rain).


Welcome to my three new subscribers since my last post! A special nod to my first subscriber from London, England. Here’s a little known fact about Mama C–I lived in London for almost two years while on hiatus from college. One of these days we’ll be visiting my old stomping grounds. That city will always hold a magical glow on my memory.


  1. We happened to be camping that weekend as well – though didn’t know about the great campout until I read this.
    Special thanks to you for mentioning the Fresh Air Fund a while back. We are very excited to be welcoming a 7yo from the Bronx into our family for 11 days, starting on Friday. Your post gave me the push to follow through with something I have though about for a long time. I hope to have the boys camp out in the backyard while he’s here.

  2. I’ve been reading this blog for a while and absolutely love hearing about you and your family. I only just realised I could subscribe! I don’t know anything about TRA, especially in the UK, but I come from a single parent family (caucasian mother and two mixed-race – black and white – daughters). We were brought up in a very white, rural community and I stumbled upon this blog whilst I was trying to discover where/how I might, or if I needed to, fit in. I have to say I’ve found reading your blog incredibly inspiring as well as having enjoyed learning more about TRA and adoption in general. And I’d love to hear more about your time in London.

    • Wow! Incredible to have you here too, and to know that the blog reached you where you are both physically and experience wise. I am sure we’d learn a lot from your story! (And I’d love to talk more about mu London life too!). Thank you for subscribing!

  3. Oh gosh. I could have written this post. In fact, I’ll link to it and quote a bit when I write about our camping adventure last week.

    Hooray for you!

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