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.
to be embodied. together. in the water. in the sun. in the shade. on a blanket. their skin. his chestnut eyes. his ocean blues. my babies grown. their parents greyed. this family. once forever. now moments. like this. as deep as all of us in the same bed. didn’t he twirl my hair as we nursed in the blue chair. didn’t he cry to sleep in the stars & moon sling against his father’s chest. i must take a photo! but no. i can’t bear to capture that which is only now. this breath. my head. his chest.
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.
Because I didn’t figure this out until my second TEEN, and since my nesting days are numbered, I wanted to share this stroke of brilliance with others in case you’ve been suffering too.
I don’t know about your teens, but ours rarely had time to make themselves breakfast or even eat the one prepared for them, let alone contribute in the kitchen, without keeping a ride waiting or missing it altogether, particularly after the sink hole of showering & biological/sociological-mandated prepping which led to forgetting homework or instruments or cleats; so now we’ve flipped the morning:
Downstairs first–packing up, contributing, eating, and then as much time as they want upstairs, Ie. whatever time they’ve left for themselves.
(ps. as parents, try reversing the order for yourself. personal first. communal last.)
I stalled in first coming up my own driveway
due to the beauty and oblivion and bravado
a half dozen lemony butterflies
fluttering around my tires
and what appeared to be an adolescent
hopping back & forth
back & forth
across the way
uncertain how or where to lift off
“Mom? Mom? Mom!”
Trigger warning (for mothers of young ones): After growing inside your body, and nursing at your breast, and comforting himself on your lap, and later on your shoulder, there will come a day, when your child, will live, somewhere else. And he’ll open the door, eager to share his new home, and you’ll weep, behind your sunglasses, because it makes no sense to your heart that he is grown (and flown.)
If I was a Lioness,
I would pick him up
by the neck,
and nuzzle his face,
and lick him all over,
and tumble with him in the grass,
and lay on my back so that he could rest his head on my breast in sweet
surrender. But I am human, and we withhold such
devotion, and so I kiss his cheek too many times, and sidle up too
close on the couch, and hold his hand for an entire
block, almost. But my thirst is unquenchable–flesh
of my flesh, bone of my bone, heart of my heart, this
man. this man. this man? So that when we
part, my favorite drink tastes sour, my salad wilted, the crepe in my mouth, a weight, not a pleasure; the sun
barren, the water grey, the sky
hopeless, even above Lake Champlain, even the chocolate
too bitter with the certain defeat of
Mother. I was 13
when my breasts began to
ache, and home alone on a Sunday
afternoon, watched Born
Free on the colored television in the living room, and released all the
tears held inside, not just mine, but belonging to time–mothers,
lovers, reunions–like the one today, which left me with a belly of grief, which instead of swallowing like I often do, I released, with weeping, all the way to
Skinny Pancake, but not before a small Vietnamese woman, who lives in Montreal, rose from Bernie’s park where she was meditating with dozens of others dressed in bright yellow t-shirts–stood up and approached me to share the blessings and atrocities suffered by the practitioners of Falon Gong in China–hearts extracted and sold–and I lifted my sunglasses off my face, and we embraced, eyes shining, grateful for our connection and our capacity to know and share pain.