The little child oasis we leave behind.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of reactive anger/loss that happens when you catch a neighborhood kid happily pulling Captain America out of a box of toys that you yourself put on the sidewalk *specifically* to give away for free. But there he was, with Cap’s shield already in one hand, astounded at the windfall of “jugettes gratis” that appeared before him. Over the next 30 minutes the boxes of toys/stuff that we weren’t selling/ moving with was picked entirely clean, though apparently no one wanted a soiled diaper that had somehow made it into the pile. Woops.

We (Cole and parents) didn’t have much of a discussion about the fact that many of his toys were going away. I’m not sure of the correct method of separating a kid from his toys, but it seemed like having a proper sit-down talk or saying “goodbye” to the toys was the quickest way to make a four year old firmly attach himself to a bunch of toys he almost never played with. Better to just remove them? I hope I’m right on that. I made a point to fill his backpack to the brim with all of his favorites. Star Wars, The Avengers, Angry Birds, along with some Ben 10 and matchbox cars all made the cut. So far he hasn’t noticed.

With the last of the stuff gone, we headed north, back to the states. Our first night was spent boondocking on some patch of land we found on the outskirts of a town called Ameca. It was absolutely thrilling in the way only trespassing on a stranger’s property on foreign soil can be. I set up the tent while Christine made a picnic dinner and the kids got filthier than I possibly could have imagined. I had to try not to laugh as I told Cole “Hey, dude, don’t pour dirt on Stella’s head, mmkay?”


I sipped on a warm Indio beer and drew while Christine read a book in the tent. At bed time the kids, unused to unlimited access to two parents who could not easily excuse themselves, bounced around the tent on top of us until, as Christine tells me, “All three of you just fell asleep all at the same time.”

I froze my butt off that night. The only one without a warm enough blanket and stuck sleeping on one hip. I woke up that morning freezing, in pain and having to break down the tent and pack up in the chilly morning glow while the rest of the family sat in the warming car with blankets.

I pulled away from that campsite tired, freezing an feeling exhilarated. Alive. This transition was going to be a fun adventure.