I often think of my 20-year-old mother today.
Exactly 8 & 1/2 months pregnant.
Her President, the age of her father-in-law, shot dead, beside his wife, on a Texas street.
My mother was 17, the age of my son, when she went door to door with her younger sister.
“The Kelly girls,” the neighbors called them.
Their mother sent them out to campaign.
I think of the unbearable grief that I felt on 9/11 & 11/9 and on the December day when children were shot inside their first-grade classroom, and I wonder that today is not my birthday.
And I wonder, what my young mother felt in those last two weeks with me inside.
And I wonder if the sweet sensitivity of my own son is due to the grief I held as he came into the world and she left it.
I consider it part of my parting duty to impart beach culture to my mountain grown sons.
Lose the hikers.
Let the hair become wild with humidity.
Get sand… everywhere.
Let it stay.
Smell the air.
Feel the spray.
Sample slices until you find the best pizza.
Welcome the fog. The rain. Let it all be one.
Thick hoodies. Leisurely breakfasts. Coffee. Music. Chaos.
Beach chairs. Flip flops. Fudge.
Salt water taffy. Beer bottles. Bar flies. Bare feet. Sunburn.
Shellfish. Sandcastles. Donuts. Surf shops.
Waves. Seagulls. Lifeguards. Sunsets.
As a young woman, I steered away from any young man interested in medicine (and by steer away, I mean–a sharp & immediate U-Turn!)
But my son.
And so, I bow again to the legacy of his great-great-great grandfather (Community Health Officer), great-great grandparents (Doctor & Nurse), great grandfather (Surgeon), grandparents (Surgeon & Nurse), aunt (Doula), and second & first cousins (Nurses & Researchers & MD & Body workers), as I bow to him, with pride.