Monday, June 30, 2014

Soft Focus

There are some things I just want to believe.

Last week,  while I was reading a novel, a character claimed that staring at the horizon released serotonin. The line was uttered in passing, something about soft focus.

Since then I have been drinking in the horizon, seeking it out for comfort, seeking it out for peace. On a clear day I can spy the Bay Bridge. In the morning, the water glitters and is dotted with crab boats.

I tried to find a study that confirms that my efforts aren't for naught.
Nothing pops up, but I don't care. I'm going to keep looking, not for confirmation, but at the distance.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Steady Days

Sometimes the best days are spent at your parents' house, watching your children swim with your husband and a couple of neighborhood kids. And sometimes you just sit out there, spitting out cherry seeds thinking that every. single. little. thing. is so damn beautiful, thinking that your children are having a fine childhood, despite an incredibly flawed mother who forgets to pay attention sometimes. Add in a raft gifted by another neighbor who didn't happen to know that you had stopped at two different stores in search of a raft that very morning, a few crab nets, and galvanized bucket, and you have just about everything you could ever ask for in a summer Sunday.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Struggles

As the school year nears its end, I always feel like I am standing on the brink of eternity. I feel like once I leave the building for the year, time will stand still. I will be able to do and not do all the things that the school year makes impossible.

However, every summer, I am struck with how short it truly is, how fast my kids grow, how few weekends there are to pack in all the joys and adventures and projects and people. I start to panic. When is the time for sitting? When do I get to stare at the horizon?

I will always hate busy.

On Thursday, Carrie and Felix came to visit, and it was restful, which is not how I would describe most of my social activities. It was peaceful and easy, with most of our entertainment provided by two 18 month old boys who spend hours and hours trying to figure each other out. They poke each other's nipples and try to give each other hugs. They accidentally knock each other over and then try to help each other up. All the while, their mothers try to imagine what they are saying to each other and wonder if they both understand.

This morning after a walk to our favorite bakery, they left us.
Now I am back to my struggle: my desire to fill each moment of summer with every sort of wonderful conflicting with my need for listless afternoons sipping lemon water on my porch.  I am not sure which way tomorrow will sway.

Monday, June 23, 2014

This Weekend We- Merhons Take Coney Island

A year ago, my friend Maggie sent me a text telling me about the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Since that text message, there has been lots of late night bonfire scheming, lots of excitement, lots of image searching and pinning and planning, all leading to a weekend filled with girls and tails and conch shells.

It did not disappoint. We stayed in an Airbnb rental in Bushwick, which was a pretty long hike from Coney Island, but close to friends and cheap, delicious tacos.

We ate donuts (all good stories involve donuts) and sipped coffee on Saturday morning as hair was teased and shimmery green eyeshadow applied. We made the trek across Brooklyn, almost bursting with excitement as we got closer to Coney Island and started to run into more mermaids and parade enthusiasts.

I also fell a little in love with Coney Island, which is so different from the beaches I mostly went to as a kid. It's tacky and raucous and completely fun. I am already scheming more trips.   I want to see the freak shows and ride the rides, eat hot dogs and go back to Gambrinus to feast on lobsters, smoked eels, and baked clams; next time, with my boys in tow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer's Children

Monday was my last day at work for the summer, and I am so glad to be home, even if I also feel a little spoiled. I wish everyone got summer breaks. I stand in support of summer. I want days filled with the luxury of time: time to hang my laundry out to dry, time to linger in bed, time to make my kids breakfast, time to actually eat it with them. I want my kids to remember what it felt like to have nothing to do.

We started our summer with a bang-- nine kids and a beach closed down due to waste water treatment overflow.  The beach serves as our constant playground, an extension of our backyard. Without it, we almost don't know what to do with ourselves. We had to get creative. We pulled out the old kiddie pool, tried to make a slip n' slide, played a version of Marco Polo with a hose.

At first I felt the need to entertain them and to help them figure out what to do. But as the day wore on an ease took over. Little clumps of children found hidden spots to make mischief. They went tramping around my yard and my sisters' yard next door, went in and out of houses, searched for snacks, carried in mud and bugs. Arlo took to hugging Rory. Crushes developed. Hearts were broken.

We ended the night with hot dogs burned over a fire and our first attempt at an outdoor movie. Eight little people tried to fall asleep in a tent outside. One by one they all made their way inside, leaving only Gus asleep by himself. However, before the sleep, before abandoning the great outdoors, the grownups on the porch got to overhear rounds of truth or dare not soon to be forgotten.

This is summer.