Sorry for the butt shot. It's not the most flattering photo of my bottom half, but we were having a good time -- yoga bringing the family together. Note Chauncey upon my work table. He's looking for squirrels, his arch-enemies.
I had my first three days of summer camp orientation this week. On Monday we start for real. Today the campers and their parents were able to come for an open house to meet all the counselors and see our amazing digs (it would make you cry, it's so lovely). That means that Habtam came with Dad and Lire to meet his counselors, see his room, check out the grounds and see SO MANY KIDS! I could tell he was in heaven. He really likes to be amongst a bunch of kids. Lire, too, but especially H. It's a very free and easy place with the ability to run around and not get lost or hurt easily, so it was nice for me to see him racing about, happy with the world.
I met most of my 19 charges and their parents. Only one chilly, limp-wristed handshake was had (hey, turn off the ac, biatch!). Luckily most of the parents were sensible, kind people. The counselors working under me are absolutely terrific. I lucked out. Since I'm new, I think the director purposely gave me experienced counselors, some of whom are former campers themselves. The staff is much more diverse than the clientele, which I was expecting. This school (it's an alternative/hippy/liberal private school during the rest of the year) makes a point of recruiting staff from all walks of life. There are three head counselors who are African, another African-American, two of Asian descent, a number of people who are Hispanic, and then all of us Caucs. The clientele are mostly wealthy Manhattan kids whose parents or grandparents summer out here. The campers are not as diverse as anyone around here would like, but the staff is, and for that I am grateful.
I was telling H that three of the counselors were from Africa, like he was. He appeared interested, but didn't say anything. We have been talking about Ethiopia again lately, usually combined with questions about family relationships. The other day I was on the phone chatting with my mom. I hung up after saying "bye Mom!" Habtam asked me why I called Nana "Mom." He's asked this before, so I repeated that she was my mother.
H: Why is she your mother?
me: (deep breath) well, Nana carried me in her uterus until I was born, and then she took care of me until I was a grown-up. Do you remember who carried you in her uterus?
H: (His name for their first mom)
me: Right. So she was your mother, and she took care of you as long as she was able. And now I am taking care of you, right?
H: Right. (begins to jump on his bed)
me: So I'm your mother, too.
Lire: You my mommy, too!
H: Will I go back there visit?
me: Yes, when you get older, we'd like to take you and Lire to Ethiopia again. Would you like that?
H: (Jumps on bed, no answer)
Lire: Yes, I go Ethiopia! (also jumping on bed)
The jumping got out of hand, as usual, with all of us jumping on Lire's bed and holding hands. I had to jump ship to keep H and L from dragging me into their too-physical-for-me game of banging bodies against the wall.
And that's how a lot of stuff gets discussed around here. Catch as catch can, with a side of physical comedy and/or violence.