We’re going camping next week. The setting will be breathtaking with the impossible green of the deeply wooded Adirondacks against a sky so blue I sometimes squint my eyes and pinch myself to make sure it’s real. It’s that beautiful. And the lake? Don’t get me started on the restorative powers of Lake George.

I am not kidding when I say that two days before our wedding I was wild-eyed and panicked, threatening to order the entire Pro Activ line and have it overnighted because I had a break out that I thought merited giving me my own Garabage Pail kid card – Bespotted Bride, don’t lift the veil.

Sean took me to the lake, my stubborn chin jutting out beneath a full force pout. I dove in, not for, as he put it, a relaxing dip, rather to hide my face. The next day I woke and angels sangs as I faced the mirror, so clear and creamy was my complexion. It has also cured cramps, a bad mood so fierce that I made flowers wilt, and sorrows untouched by sweet nothings and tender hands.

Add it all up: exquisite backdrop, majestic skies overhead, magical lake, sweet kids, doting husband and dear friends = Perfect, right?


I try to avoid the obscene and the obnoxious here at Tumble Dry, I find it unnecessary to share certain aspects of parenting. It isn’t that I want to hide the truth, I just think too few people focus on the wonder of it all. Becoming a parent, experiencing the limitless potential for loving and rediscovering joy is worth writing about. Chronicle these moments, leave little crumbs as you move ahead so that one day you can look back, gingerly lifting the delicate morsels as you slip through the cobwebs of your memory and revisit with unerring clarity, the sensation of running your finger along a chin wet with drool, wiping it away and looking into the delighted eyes of your child. Hear the breathy cooes and rolling gurgles of pleasure, smell the memories of alabaster baby belly and wispy curls, of cuddling as the sun rises, little feet pushing gently against your hip. We must preserve this, and so I write and live and passiontaely love my life and my world.

But camping, oh camping with kids. Here I must put down my sentimental foot and explain a few things, paint a picture of what it is to try and camp with kids.

Tonight, Sean is camping with Briar in the backyard. The idea being that this will prepare her for next week, protect us from two sleepless nights on a bed of lumps and bumps. I think it will just make for a sleepy Saturday, but that is his to deal with, I have to pack.

Diapers – swimmies and overnights, 4’s and 5’s

Wipes – for wiping and playing, for pitch in hair and marshmallows on hands.

Sippy cups – the inevitably missing tops and the plastic thingies that go in to prevent them from leaking when upended.

Clothes – backups for spills, explosions, wet bottoms and sticky tops. For sleeping and playing, for swimming and hiking. Shoes for walking and shoes for playing, shoes for when we lose the others.

Toys – for entertainment and bartering, for peacemaking and time passing.

Meds – Salves for itches, ointments for bottoms, gel for teeth, lotion for sun, spray for bugs, solution for eyes and paste for teeth.

Must haves – princess blankets and princess pillows, baby dolls and fuzzy bears. Contact cases and glasses, deodorant (I rough it, but not that rough), aspirin and sinus tabs. Bags for trash, bags for dirty clothes, bags for wet clothes, bags for stinky diapers.

Food – I cannot bear to think about this one. We tread a fine line between allowing the girls to assert their independence with regard to the foods they eat and laying down the law of, “You will eat it or go hungry.”

It is an arduous process and I know as surely as I sit here today, as we reach the point in the drive of, not-yet-there and yet too-far-to-turn-back-now, three things will happen:

One of the girls will cry needing something I do not have.
One of us will realize we have forgotten something we cannot survive without.
I will realize that not only do I have to pee, but my period has just arrived.