Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Birthday Beachin

A few days after our beach trip, I have the post-vacation blues.  Not that I am sad, but just that I miss the ocean, miss standing in it, the waves washing upon me.  I tell Wolfman standing in the ocean felt like returning to my mother's womb.  He says he doesn't feel the same, I think likely because he and his people come from some star, but I and mine come from the ocean.  Maybe we were mermaids, or maybe we were plankton.

Not that Wolfman wasn't different--lighter, happier--at the beach.  The Kid, a beach boy from Martha's Vinyard (who recently told me he feels like a beached whale after living so many years land-locked here in the piedmont of North Carolina), I fully expected to grin and frolic and play.  But, watching my husband do the same, dive into the waves, come out with his long hair down and wild, "looking like a sea otter," he says, a little snot in his mustache and salt in his chest hair--that was an unexpected delight.  He says, "I'm not a beach person," with a shake of his head, would pick a trip to the mountains over sand and surf any day, but he chose Topsail Island (which he pronounces Topsul) because as a kid his parents had a house here, where they spent summer days, sure, but also Thanksgivings and Christmases, until Fran took it away.

We were rained off the beach, and in the parking lot, after showering off a naked and wailing Martigan (to keep grit out of his diaper on the ride home), I asked my usually brooding husband if he enjoyed himself.  He smiled, said yes.  I said, "I saw you having fun."  He asked, "So what would you have said if I answered no."  "I would've called you a liar."

He told me on the ride home he liked seeing me giddy, too, (and a little scared) as the waves washed up around me.  He feigned pushing me into the water several times, but never did, just brushed his hand against mine and wrapped an arm around my waist.

The Family Good


The babies had less fun.  The ocean is a lot to process for a being so new to the world, I suppose.  They were both frightened and complaining.  I took Mads on a walk in the surf, stooping with him to pick up shells and smooth stones, holding them out in the palm of my hand for his examination.  He'd calmed a bit by the time we'd walked back, and I deposited him at our camp, where Grandma promptly began burying his legs in the sand.  I ran out into the ocean then, alone this time, and when I returned, Mads smiled up at me with a look on his face that said, "Oh, now I get it," sand gripped in both fists (he'd have sand between his fingers for much of the night).

We'd traveled to the beach, along scenic little back road high ways, through perfect snowglobe down towns, across farms, the road sandwiched between tobacco crops and corn, for Sierra Dawn's 25th birthday.  She didn't have much by way of birthday wishes, just a new bathing suit and a trip to the beach.  A true Wednesday's child, though, the day was not without its woe.  Aside from the rain, we were stuck in traffic on the island, Sierra suffered a headache, we spent more time in cars than on the beach, and most tragically, we all witnessed a little dog, wearing a collar, be hit by a car on the ride out--it had run onto the high way after a cyclist and was struck by a car moving opposite us.  Sierra, in the car behind Wolfman and me, immediately burst into tears according to The Kid.  I teared up later, on the ride home, ruminating aloud about the day as I imagined that little dog's owner scooping him out of the road after the traffic cleared.  It's a sad thing to witness any time, but especially on one's birthday.  

Before we left the island, we ate not-terrific fried seafood at a cute little crab shack The Kid had spotted on our way in.  The waitress was kind, the atmosphere was funky, the little ladies in the booth next to ours mistook Mads for a girl (happens all the time), and all the adults drank $5 bloody marys with hardly any liquor in them at all.  The gumbo was alright, I think (but then, what do I know about gumbo?).  Most importantly, when The Kid informed the waitress it was Sierra's birthday, nobody clapped and sang to her, which is just the way she wanted it.  It may not have been perfect, but she wore a new bathing suit, she stood with her baby in the Atlantic, and nobody sang her damn Happy Birthday and embarrassed her.  Happy 25th to my baby sister, the surliest, most gorgeous girl I know.

What I want my kitchen to look like.

"Hey Shelly, I don't want to make you mad, but that woman has been staring at me all night," says my husband.

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