4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
It was that kind of ride north, Tim in the driver’s seat, a crew of children glued to a National Geographic documentary on volcanoes or polar bears in the back, and me a passenger in the minivan, at last. A bag of pants and jeans to be patched lay across my lap, but I was totally absorbed in my iPad instead. From blog to Facebook to blog to news to e-mail, I roamed.
We exited the highway, through the tolls to ever smaller, curvier, hillier roads until finally, we were driving across an unbearably narrow bridge and the water on either side was dead calm.
“I wish I could go paddle boarding,” I murmured.
But it was dinner time and I had already run. We arrived and somewhere between making a deal with my husband and fully unpacking the car “the parents” in this story may have used the word “jerk” a few times. So then the 7-year-old pointed out that technically something dad did made him a “jerk”…
And on that uncertain note I threw on my salt-crusted swimsuit, grabbed my paddle, and slipped out the door.
As I set my board in the water, I looked across the cove to see the sky pinkening, heralding sunsets approach. Still the voices in my head from that ride north, voices of such strength and unbridled potty-mouth humor, brave parents and crafty Mamas, friends with news and countries at war, went buzz, buzz, buzz through my head.
From cove to inlet to ocean, I was paddling through the ghostlike puffs of chilly salt air just settling on the water for the evening and then through the dry, sun-bleached air of a hot Maine day already spent. The clouds of chill and warmth skittered like ghosts in tandem across the inlet, and the voices in my head slowly dropped away.
Just as I turned to tuck into the next cove, where the ocean meets the inlet meets the cove, the place where I always think, “Jesus, Jen. Pay attention. You could fall off the board,” just then I heard actual voices, the bell-like chirp of children. I turned almost losing balance and I could barely make out my husband, with my daughter on his shoulders and the other three at his knees, right up on the top of the bluff in the private driveway of the last house on the spit of land. They waved, and I waved my paddle in return, staggering a step to stay standing.
And as I dug my paddle back into the water, gliding into the cove with the scarred lobster boats with names like Jocelyne K, Miss Holly and Adrea Hannah, I looked to my right to see a breathless full moon as big as my fist rising over the trees.
I am between sunset and moonrise, and all the voices have quieted except the faint echo of my children, raining down from above.
Oh, thank you for dropping by and commenting. Here’s hoping we all find a minute between sunset and moonrise.
I could probably really enjoy a place where an ocean meets an inlet meets a cove. Your kids watch documentaries instead of stupid ass kids crap? That’s great. My older two did watch the original Star Wars yesterday, so that’s sort of the same, right?
The original Star Wars is considered an historic documentary, I believe? Ha! And last night we watched Naked and Afraid. And they loved it. My four-year-old kept saying “Nica-wa-jan jungle?” (Nicaraguan jungle, the scene of “Jungle Love”, which was this week’s episode.) So I’m not always certain it’s all as educational as I would choose, but it beats Dora and those stupid blinking eyes. Blink… blink.
And yes, you would love this place where the ocean meets the inlet meets the cove.
Beautifully written, Jen. gorgeous.
From a master of all things lyrically beautiful that is high praise. Thank you.
I do think this is what heaven looks like. As I’ve written, I always picture my father on a beach, smoking and drinking and watching women in bikinis. Perhaps my heaven will be out on the cove on a paddle board with my children’s voices in my ears.
THAT is an exquisite image… I hope that is the kind of heaven we can all hope for.
Your literary pictures as well as your actual pictures are stunning! I saw that moon down the cape, I will never forget it. And thank you for admitting your parenting foibles, we are all just humans, right? Jen, why did you remove your Standing Still (?name) post, it too was stunning?
You are too good to remember Standing (Almost) Still. They are all still up. Just scroll all the way down to the bottom of the home page and click on “Older posts.” It’s right there, second row from the bottom. And thank you for reading and commenting and getting it. Yes, we really are just human.
Oh those voices. They do natter on don’t they? So glad you chucked it all and went for a paddle. I gained some lovely visuals here today. Thank you!
Thank you for joining me on my paddle board. I knew you’d love the ride! Next we can try a head stand on the paddle board. You in?