Car Camping Trip, Part III
The worst thing about camping is not the bugs, but the midnight potty trips. You don’t realize it, but the teeth in your tent zippers are equipped with tiny amplification devices meant to scare away nocturnal, slithering or scurrying things. Unfortunately, it also broadcasts like a foghorn that mom has got to go again. There she goes, flitting through the trees and trailing her wisps of ghostly toilet paper like something out of a Wilkie Collins novel.
On our entire two-week trip, my two boys never once left their tents after they had zipped themselves in, not until the sun was high in the sky.
I, however, had opportunities at least several times a night to check the campground for snakes, bears, and other wakeful campers who might get a glimpse of my moon.
It wasn’t until the return trip home, in southeast Idaho, that it occurred to me that I was so busy looking down and around every night that I had not looked up yet to check out the night sky. I squatted, and looked up. What a lovely blur.
Damn, I had to find my eyeglasses. This was more involved than it sounds, since it also meant finding my pants, since it was cold and buggy. I nearly gave up. Seriously, star-gazing seemed overrated when the tradeoff was not sleeping. But I finally located my spectacles in the front seat of the car.
I snapped off my flashlight, stepped out from under a tree, and looked up, just as a bright streak flashed across the sky. A shooting star! Wow! Lots of stars! Magnificent! And that smudgy white thing must be the Milky Way! Wow! Now I can go back to sleep!
The next day I told the Little Monster that I had a seen a shooting star.
“Wow!” he said, truly excited. “Did you make a wish?”
Damn. I had forgotten all about that Jiminy Cricket b.s.
“No, honey,” I answered. “I already got my biggest wish, so I don’t need to make any others.”
“What was your wish?” He ate right out of the palm of my hand.
“You, my Little Monster. Just you.”