May 30, 2004

DAY TWO

SUNDAY:
Today was the kind of day that brings people to LA.
It was gorgeous. Perfect weather.
Warm, breezy.
We went to the beach.

The girls played. Gathered seaweed and shells.
We spotted dolphins frolicking in the water. Honestly, we did.

Earlier in the day, after breakfast, Zoe and Mira decided to wash down the playhouse. They asked for soap and brushes, I gave them a small bottle of Basic H and two long handled scrub brushers. They went to work. Not only was the house diligently cleaned from roof to floor, but so was all the furniture inside.

I watched them happily chatting away as they worked while I cleaned up inside. I thought it ironic that they were having so much fun at this job. Especially after a phone call I had received two nights before from Mike and Zoe.

When I picked up the phone, Mike asked if he was 8 years old that he had to start washing the dishes. I wasn't sure. I'm pretty sure that he was that age when he started making his bed. I think that had something to do with a Cub Scout badge.

So I told him that I wasn't sure. I know that the boys had to be big enough to reach the sink to do the dishes. In the background I could hear the girl's voices. Michele sounded matter of fact, Mira sounded happy, but the voice from Zoe sounded anything but... I heard her saying something like "No, I am too young!" Zoe is eight.

Mike told me to talk to Zoe. I think he wanted me to tell Zoe that she is old enough to do the dishes. Zoe came on the line. She sounded wounded. She wanted me to tell her it wasn't so. She said: "Nana, I am too young to do dishes."

I said something like ""don"t worry, Mommy and Daddy will know when the time is right." I'm pretty sure Mike was kidding, but I'm not sure.

What is it about having to do something over choosing to do something that makes such a difference?

But back to the day´┐Ż

After the house and its belongings were spic and span, wet clothes were changed for dry ones. The girls put on their bathing suits. We had planned to both play miniature golf and go to the beach that day. When the girls realized that we meant to play golf before the beach they had a hurried conference. They came back to us to tell us that they only wanted to do one thing that day. And, that was to go to the beach. We agreed and we were off.

As I said earlier, it was a perfect day for it. Once there, the girls ran ahead and picked out the perfect spot for the blanket. We settled down and they ran down to the ocean. Pete followed to keep watch. I sat further up, and watched, keeping an eye on our belongings and having towels ready as needed.

Zoe immediately went to work gathering a great pile of seaweed. She quickly made friends with other children who joined in the endeavor. The pile grew quite large.

After a time and much effort, she realized that her mountain of kelp was threatened by the incoming tide. With the help of the others, it was moved further up on the sand, away from the encroaching waves. Inevitably however, before we left the whole thing was reclaimed by the sea. A lesson in impermanence.

Before I made friends with another watchful woman, I experienced some moments of melancholy. How I longed for the days I would easily swim out beyond the waves. Then, turn over onto my back, and simply float, buoyant on the salty water.

Instead, I sat there, slathered in sun block, under umbrellas, to further protect me from the burning rays. At 63 I am older now. The body can change with age and experiences, yet the desires of youth can last a lifetime.
..........

Oh, and by the way ... Mira remembered the sticky-hands.

Posted by Judi at May 30, 2004 10:26 PM | TrackBack
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