She sits with her back against me, both of us watching the sea in silence. Our breath and hearts remembering the synchronization, falling into pace again.
The black rocks bob up and down in the murky grey waves, like seals playing, like we just were; hand in hand darting from the cold foam, testing our footing on crumbling rocks and watching the sand create light circles around our feet as we step together.
The deep, grey clouds mute the color of everything, making even the stark whitecaps of the waves seem wiped away of color.
I put my hand on top of hers, and breathe in the scent of salt caught in the gilded strands.
She’s talking about life, her philosophical nature equally captivated by the waves as my own; motivations, dreams, memories, fears and ambitions.
Our voices match in pace, harmonized.
The clouds gradually shift, the wind gently pushing away the platinum grey, allowing tiny patches of bright blue to appear. With the blue comes white, brown, green and gold. It’s as if nothing is truly a color without the sun’s rays to warm it to life.
Shapes appear far out in the sea, hidden before in the dreariness of grey; black triangular rocks topped with white splashes, golden strips of land carved smooth like rising waves, royal green hills and shiny black birds suspended like kites on a string.
Our tummies growl and I know the moment must end, but I stretch it, savoring the vast warmth as if I may never feel it again.
My baby will be 10 this summer and, as cliché as it is, all those moms who stopped me in Target when my kids were little are right, it does go by so fast.
Chubby pink babies with soft folds you must lift to wash are suddenly explaining why they feel empathy for the mean girl at school with shocking insight and depth.
I feel confused; like I’m Alice shaking my head as the Mad Hatter explains the nature of time, only I’m watching my little baby perform mock episodes of both “Elmo’s World” and “Dance Moms” and wondering where her wit and timing comes from.
She has a feisty resistance to people who don’t listen to her and a sweet devotion to those who do. I see so much of myself in her, but also recognize a strength and determination which is entirely hers alone.
I trace the freckles on her arms as we talk a few more minutes. The sound of the waves, crashing and retracting, the soundtrack to our love.
I know she can’t understand the intensity of my emotions, my devotion. She doesn’t understand why I get irate so quickly when she whines; undone thinking she will have the same negative soundtrack locked in a loop inside her head. I want to shake the pain away from her, make her see only light, only good.
I vow again, silently, like every mother does, to try and be more patient and to do my best to build her up so she can handle the weight of everything to come.
I whisper I love you into her head, and it doesn’t feel like enough. Adore, admire, cherish, treasure; each word like a piece of the puzzle. She can’t know the weight of it, I decide.
She eases off my lap, so I can cook us grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. She begins to sing and my heart is as full as the moon, pulling the waves back and forth, pulling us closer together again.