As we walked along the grassy path on our way to the gulf waters, I told June about when we were here last, when she was deep within my belly. Two Decembers ago I had wandered the ocean shore, my hand upon my belly, my feet sinking deep into the sand. I remember wondereding if it sounded like the mighty ocean in there as she flipped and grew and played. I was sick that day at the ocean, four weeks into my pregnancy, tired from the night before, hungry from no breakfast, longing for a deep and endless hazelnut coffee. How different the ocean was today than then. Or was it me that was different? I couldn’t tell.
We stood at the ocean’s shore, looking out at the waves blowing in like children rushing to their parents arms. The three of us; mom, dad and child, all squinting to explore a world so different than our own. It was warm that evening, but isn’t Florida always warm compared to home? The ocean was loud, roaring you might say. I wondered if June remembered her time at the Pacific, but probably she didn’t, she was so small then compared to now. Now, she grunts at the waves, daring them to reach her and laughing when they do. Sean and I look at one another, completely in awe of our little daredevil. How does this wild, perfect child belong to us?
When you stand at the ocean it is impossible not to think about life: the coming and going, the force of the unknown, your inability to control. Life passes quickly. Before June was born people warned me about this. They were right. I feel united with the ocean waves, at the mercy of time, unable to push back, being thrown upon the shore. I inhale June’s sweetness, press my cheeks against hers, then hand her over to Sean to savor this moment.
We trace our path back to the car, me following the two of them, with a red sheet tossed upon my shoulders. At the car we brush the sand from our toes, unwanted souvenirs from our adventure. Someday I will tell June about her first actual trip to the gulf and so, I try to remember as many details as I can: the sand caught in the chubby roll of her arm, the nearly too small bonnet she wore to protect her skin, her cheeks, sticky with salt, the way she kicked her legs when Sean held her, the blinding whiteout of sand that caused our untrained eyes to look up at the blue skies.
She sings in her car seat as we drive away and I think of all the things I wish for her. I cannot help but feel excited to learn what she will wish for herself, too– someday. Perhaps the next time we come she will tell me herself. Perhaps it will take a lifetime for her to every truly know. In a world of dissipating time and roaring noises, all I can really hope for her is that she will grow to love the ocean, that she will wish on waves, that she will take adventures worth writing about.