Kyle was away much of this week for work, unusual and a bit unsettling. None of our routines were quite clicking, waffles were burnt and water bottles lost, and every night after bedtime the sink was full of dishes even though I was the one who had made dinner.
Today, he was home. He took the afternoon off, powered down the computer, pulled on his sneakers. Together, we all drove over the hill, to our favorite tide pools.
So. We’d had a long week, and last night was a long night. I read something about letting your kids control their trick-or-treat bounty, and I drank the Kool-Aid, so this morning Lucas ate fifteen fun-size bars and one full-size bag of M&Ms, and then when we got to the shore he decided he didn’t want to get his firefighter boots wet, but he fell into the water and subsequently whined his way down the beach. Jacob yelled at me not to put hermit crabs in his viewing container, only fish!, but we couldn’t catch any fish because their camouflage is like, whoa. There was a strange and serious sign from the park rangers warning us, in all caps, DO NOT PICK UP THE HARBOR SEALS! We participated in eroding the cliffside, surely harmed an assortment of barnacles and anemones despite our best intentions, and got up close and personal with the remains of some seagull’s crab feast.
But still. We had a zero tide at 4 o’clock, friends there to meet us, a sun so high and warm that if you ignored the long shadows and turned your face to the sky, it felt like summer. Best of all, there was Kyle – looking after Lucas while I got distracted (not)catching fish, emptying the fire fighter boots when they filled (repeatedly) with ocean water, standing calm as the boys balanced along the edge of the continent.
When the tide turned and started its rush back toward us, we headed in. Driving north on highway 1, everything was gilded with that butterscotch autumn light, and the air was so warm, and we could see the fishing boats coming in. We stopped for chowder and french fries, and got a table on the deck, looking out at the sea. Then out of nowhere, before our food arrived, there were two huge cones of chocolate ice cream. We didn’t order them, but Lucas started licking one before it was even set down, so just like that they were ours, and chocolate was everywhere.
Later we were walking through the parking lot, the sun low and red and enormous, and Lucas held my hand. His fingers were sticky and warm, and he sighed with pleasure. “I had such a good day,” he said. “I so happy.”