I vowed we’d spend more time at the beach this summer, but so far, we’ve only spent a single day. And of course it was a day that brought a mild storm, with gray clouds, rain and a chill in the air in the middle of July, despite the weather report swearing it would be 80 degrees and sunny.
Luckily, the boys didn’t mind, they frolicked as usual, ignoring the raindrops turning powdery sand wet and sludgy. By the time we started collecting our belongings to sprint back to our car under the pressure of an expiring meter (no easy feat with a double stroller, three rambunctious children and endless bags of wet food, umbrellas and beach toys), we were caught in the middle of a bona fide downpour.
So much for planning a perfect day at the beach. I doubt we’ll be going back for awhile. And to top it off, we were greeted with a big, fat parking ticket for an expired meter.
Earlier in the week, I spent a wonderful evening one-one-one with my oldest, something we’ve done only a handful of times since his younger brothers were born. We went to dinner and a movie, where the focus was solely on him and it was much-needed and lovely. Between the chaos of a toddler bulldozing his belongings and the cries of his baby brother whose needs are often more immediate, he’s learned to be patient. But I realize it’s unfair for him to always be the one to wait in line while his smaller brothers’ demands are louder, making their presence and need for attention more known.
It’s something I find difficult to navigate at times.
I wanted to take a night to make him feel extra special and attended to, like he was when he was an only child, where I could savor his words and stories with fully open ears. Without multi-tasking and asking him to re-tell them because I only heard snippets of what he was saying as I’m calming the baby down and making sure the toddler doesn’t run into the middle of traffic.
I’m going to make an attempt to do these “date nights” with him more often. It was a really sweet time for both of us.
Yesterday, we visited a place I’ve been wanting to visit since it was re-modeled and re-opened to the public a few years ago. It did not disappoint. Billionaires live pretty well, I’d say. The boys had fun exploring the hallways that seemed to run on forever and the toddler loved roaming the gorgeous fountains. If I didn’t know better, with the balmy ocean breeze whispering through our hair, we could have easily been along the Mediterranean, admiring ancient greek artifacts. It was a fantastic day.
Peppered in between mini-excursions, are those days at home that would otherwise seem mundane, ordinary, uneventful. But these are the days I want to capture most: a sleeping baby who finally gave in after fighting sleep for hours, a chubby thigh glimpsed from the corner of my eye — a thigh that will surely melt away soon into a long, sinewy limb.
These are the moments I cherish. Juxtaposed against the staggering beauty of the majestic Pacific Ocean, or the stunning architecture of a billionaire’s villa, these images trump everything.
They are everyday images and they are fleeting — a wisp of baby hair curling up like a vine around the edge of a tiny earlobe, my oldest son’s animated expressions through my rearview mirror as he tells me a story from the backseat after camp.
They are the moments I cling to.