Here is a little piece of memoir written for The Red Dress Club’s RemembeRED meme. This week’s prompt was to write about sand. That’s it. That’s the whole prompt. This is what I came up with…
This morning, when I sat down at my computer, I accidentally open up IPhoto. I ended up spending almost an hour flipping through the thousands of pictures we’ve taken since you were born. I was supposed to be paying bills and renewing my library books. Instead I watched you go from being a huge, healthy perfect baby to a quick and inquisitive toddler to the thoughtful and articulate elementary school student you are today. It’s hard to remember when you were this guy:
When this picture was taken, I was seven months pregnant with your little brother. Our house was being renovated to make room for him. We expanded the second floor to create two new bedrooms. Part of the bedroom you now use was once my walk-in closet. Your bunk bed sits in the exact location where I kept an array of suits and silk blouses. I gave up that closet and those fancy clothes when you came along—it was one of the best choices I ever made.
We couldn’t live in our house while the work was being done so we stayed in little red cottage that my grandparents had built many years ago. There wasn’t a lot of room to play inside the cottage, but it was very close to the beach. We were there for most of March and April, which isn’t ideal beach weather in New England. So we had the beach to ourselves most days. You didn’t mind the cold. To you, that beach was a giant sandbox. All you needed was a pail, shovel and a plastic truck or two and you would stay busy for hours. When your lips turned blue I would bribe you with a cup of hot cocoa to entice you to go back to the cottage.
You didn’t have a lot to say back then (times have really changed) but you asked a lot of questions. Or rather you asked the same question many times. “What zat do?” You would ask at the hardware store. “What zat do?” you would ask at the car repair shop. Once a week, we would visit our house so I could see how the work was going and drop off a check. “What zat do?” you would ask about the reciprocating saw. “What zat do?” you would ask about a nail gun. Keeping you out of harm’s way amid all those fascinating tools was no easy task for your very pregnant mother.
It’s not only strange to think of you back then because you are so much more grown up. It’s also strange to think of you as an only child. Maybe it’s just a bad case of mommy brain, but I can hardly remember a time when you weren’t a brother. I never really thought about how you and James would get along before he came into our lives. I never weighed the pros and cons of having more than one child. It just seemed natural that after we had one child, we would have another. I never could have imagined how close you would become.
I hope you realize what a blessing you have in each other. Every night I pray that you always have that. I am so proud of how you’re willing share your allowance with each other. I love seeing your huge goodnight hugs. And I’m always touched at your concern when the other one is sick or hurt. You compliment each other so well. One of you is extroverted and one introverted. One of you is emotional and the other logical. One of you jumps into life with both feet and the other considers his path carefully. One of you likes to build sandcastles and the other likes to knock them down.
I tried desperately to NOT write about the beach. The beach just seemed so obvious. I even came up with this great memory about the time I narrowly avoided stepping on a rattlesnake while hiking with my family in the desert. But then I realized that it wasn’t desert so much as plains and therefore grassy rather than sandy J. I’ll have to jot that one down for another time.