My car smells like old french fries. The bottom of the washing machine is filled with the fine gray sand of the Georgia coast. Carlos’ little wrists are more tan than they should be. Vivi’s curls have been tied in knots by the sea breeze. Yesterday, we woke up to the sound of the surf and fell asleep to the sound of rain on our roof.
It was short, but sweet. I’ll write more about the art at the heart of it tomorrow. And maybe I’ll write about the man whose portrait stopped traffic. There’s a “feet picture” story to tell and Vivi’s lesson on math. For today, I can only think about the shortest and the sweetest member of our family–my son.
Carlos has been to the beach 4-5 times in his short life, but this was the first time that he was REALLY into it. He squished his chunky baby feet across the sand and rolled around in rippling tide pools. The wind blew so hard off the ocean at night that it wobbled his baby cheeks–but he couldn’t stop giggling.
At our picnic in Forsyth Park, Carlos lolled around under the trees, stuffing himself with a celebratory amount of Chips Ahoy cookies. If I offered him an apple slice, he shook his head and answered with his curt little “no!” I handed him a sandwich and he reached for another cookie. What the hell. Why not? He fought off his nap valiantly but chilled on Richard’s old raggedy bedspread (our family Adventure Blanket) for over an hour. After Tio Luis finished the sidewalk portrait, he and Carlos sat and pondered for a while, like men do. One of them enjoyed a beer; the other had another cookie. One was covered in chalk and sweat. The other in chocolate.
We went back to the beach for the evening. Carlos learned that the wind is fun as long as you’re dry, but not so much once you’ve gotten wet. That’s when it’s best to be wrapped up, snuggled up, loved up in a lap. Even when his lips were blue and he shook with cold, he couldn’t take his eyes off the waves. I remember a trip I took to St Simon’s on my own when I was about six months pregnant with Carlos. I walked out into the water to cool down and that baby started flipping and dancing and getting down. I stood there for so long, bouncing along with the waves, that a school of tiny fish started nibbling on the green skirt of my swimsuit. That was a September, and the monarch butterflies were resting in Georgia on their long trip south. Small things–the fish and the butterflies–small things with great journeys ahead of them, making their way across the wide sky, through the deep sea, into our lives. My boy.