Today I was babysitting four girls (a trade with their mom, who was one of the incredibly generous moms who watched my kids while I was at Squaw Valley) and we packed up a lunch and headed to the beach. I spread twenty-six pieces of bread on the kitchen counter, slathered them with mayonnaise and threw some sliced things on them, folded them up and carefully stuffed them in an empty bread bag. We headed down to the beach with the eight kids.
Today Leafy was the whiny one. (There's always at least one whiny walker.) It's hardly ever him, so he must not be feeling well. Usually I have to keep him from running on ahead.
It was beautiful to be eating on the beach, crunching a little sand on a spread-out sheet in the stinging wind and sun. Two flocks of pelicans flew overhead. Solo amused himself by yelling and shouting about his own discoveries. Yelling seems to make him feel important. The other two-year-old planted carrots in the sand and silently clambered over driftwood, hissing to herself. The eight-year-olds ate one and a half sandwiches; the two-year-olds pulled theirs apart and got them sandy.
Apparently we have a lot of buried treasure all around us. The kids diligently pulled it from beneath the surface: one vertebra of a small animal, sea glass, bits of shells. They hoarded their treasure in their shoes while they ran around barefoot. My mom and dad sat beside a cold firepit on a log that has been living in the sea for a while, and my dad stopped Solo from throwing ashes in the air after he tossed a fistful of it skyward and it all blew back in his face.
I work at quieting myself everyday. In the car the other day, Chinua was a little amped and talking to the pedestrians while he drove (though they couldn't hear him). He was singing a little ditty that went something like: "Mini Coop Coop Cooper Coop Coop Mini Coop Coop Cooper." (Those may not be the exact lyrics.)
I burst out of my melancholy suddenly with, "What do we want? What is the meaning of all of this?"
He said, "Rae! You really need to lighten up!"
I was silent for a few minutes. "Do you want me to be singing the Mini Coop Coop Cooper song?" I finally asked.
Sand and sky and sun. Like Jesus pointing out the flowers in the fields. No matter where I am in the world, I will be home.
Two years ago today, we were marveling over our new healthy boy. Exhausted after a forty hour labor, I was so glad to have him in my arms.
Solo's first name means "His Peace," and his middle name (Adebayo) means "Joy has entered the house."
Joy and edible sweetness. And plenty of noise.
Happy birthday Solo, our monsoon baby. You are a promise that made our family exactly right.