Friday, March 25, 2011

Getting Our Feet Wet

At five weeks, Jasper and I boarded a plane for fun in the sun. Life is still hazy, but we decided to take our gong show on the road to Sanibel, Florida for a few days with family.

He did so well on the plane, but once boarded I realized it wouldn't have mattered if he screamed for all four hours. A flight to Ft. Myers during spring break season is jam packed with noisy and smelly children all screaming and wiggling the whole way. What's one more?

It felt good to sink my feet into the sand. I am an ocean child raised on the beaches of San Diego, so time at the beach feels more "coming home" than "getting away". We spent the first night standing with our faces into the sun waiting for the green flash with hundreds of other beach bums. I marveled at our numbers and was reminded of our deep need for ritual. The crowds hushed as the ball of orange sank and a collective breath was held as it disappeared. At the end of a day lived simply, everyone had gathered to see something true - to be together while watching for something they could count on. I closed my eyes and imagined pews in the sand as people resumed conversations and wandered off to find dinner.

Jasper spent plenty of time with aunties and uncles, which left me free to walk the beach. I was grateful for the salty wind in my hair and the shells that littered my path. I kept my eyes peeled for one that reminded me of him - something I could put in his baby book as a reminder of this first trip south filled with so many other firsts.

I walked away from the condo feeling relief and glad for a brief break from motherhood. I filled my head with other thoughts - friends and love and work and play and dreams and...well, everything except Nuks and breastfeeding. It felt good to put space between me and the barnacle for a little while.

And that's when I saw this shell. I smiled and scratched at the sea-wart that clung so tightly to it's ridges. Yup, I thought. This is us. I let the ocean spray wash over it and gripped it in my palm. I stopped for a few minutes and looked around before deciding that this was all the space I needed. And then I turned back toward the condo and motherhood and long nights and loud cries and stubborn burps and laundry loads and my precious barnacle. I kind of missed him.

Besides. It was time to get his feet wet in the most literal sense. Baptism is coming and what better preview than the shoreline? I couldn't wait to bring him down to where the sand turns soggy - where we straddle land and sea and get a little sloppy trying to navigate the two.

1 comment:

val said...

Yeah, barnacles. True. Life with a baby feeling like The Gong Show? True.

A beach in Florida in the winter? Gorgeous. True.

Living in synchrony with a baby is a very intimate space, a little too intense sometimes, but very compelling.

And the barnacles become people whose company we enjoy as much as any friend we ever had.

Lucky Jasper, lucky Matt, and lucky You. love, Val