Sand and Surf
Our two-story cottage was right on the beach and featured a full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. It had a great view. Shaena and I drove into town to pick up groceries at a little store where nobody made eye contact with us and the checker had some sort of unidentifiable, pruritic rash. Of course, we had a blast just being out and about together like the old days (only this time we were buying baby food). Upon our return, we made ourselves comfortable, and Andy joined us after the game. We eventually put Erik down in his playpen, and he slept like a log. Actually, we all did. Saturday morning we lounged around, baked cinnamon rolls, and watched television until Erik finished an almost three-hour nap, when we went into town for fish and chips. The cod filets were as big as my arm. I ate every crumb on my plate and when the waitress asked how it was, I smiled and told her it was terrible. Erik, of course, charmed all of the people in the restaurant he could see, and Sammy greeted the people in the next booth. Both kids did so well. Erik created some artwork with the impressive selection of crayons the waitress provided. After we ate and I struggled to get Erik's stiff brace-legs free of the high chair, a little old lady on whom Erik had previously worked his magic stopped me and said, "I'll take him home with me and keep him. He is so handsome." She seemed almost determined to tell me this in a surprisingly serious tone. My heart twinged, and I thanked her. Erik and I were stuck at home for months of his infancy, and I never really experienced much in the way of strangers fussing over him. Now that he is no longer a baby and is becoming friendly, he is bringing people to me and more than making up for what I missed out on. It is sort of magic, and it is just what I need these days.
As for the beach, Erik loved everything about it. He even loved saying "beach" and "ocean." He charged toward the water, and Brian swooped him up every time the waves threatened to envelop his shoes. The sky was robin's egg blue, and the wet sand reflected the light and wisps of clouds like a giant mirror. Andy, Shaena, and Sammy put their footprints in the sand and got some beautiful photographs of them.
I noticed this was the very first time the ocean didn't seem massive to me. Maybe it was because the weather wasn't angry like it is a lot of the time or because I had my hands full with a small child. I went out alone the last night and watched the orange ball of sun sink behind the contour of the earth millimeter by millimeter until it left a fading, tangerine-colored smudge above the ocean. I found myself thinking about how there was no guarantee the sun would come up in the morning to warm us again. I suppose that's an ominous thought, but I was completely comfortable with it. I know I need to enjoy things moment by moment. If there's one thing I have learned in the last two years, it's that there are no guarantees at all. Everything that seemed solid as stone around me in my life seems very temporary now to me, like a transient but beautiful mist. I can't see myself taking much for granted ever again. The weekend was definitely perfect.