Photo: Back of a Whale Watch boat. Atlantic Ocean. Joy.
Ursa Minor woke up this morning as a genuine, certified 7-year-old. To celebrate, we got him up early, dressed him in layers, pumped him full of cereal, then threw him in the minivan. The website said to be at the boat a minimum of 45 minutes early. Truth be told, they started boarding 15 minutes before. sigh Whatever, we were on a whale watch. The boy’s first!
If you want to have a full-blown “mindfulness” experience… one of those moments when you know that you are here, and fully alive, and probably exceptionally lucky, and probably exceptionally blessed, I invite you to go on a Whale Watch in mid-April. Seriously. Why?
Because the wind is cold and salty, and fresh and glorious, and brisk and it goes right through your fabric, no matter the layers, and when it gets to your skin, it isn’t mean or sharp, but it’s most certainly undeniable. The cold cuts right to your bone. The wind is unavoidable and races through your skin, up your nostrils, into your mouth, through your hair. The air is alive and screaming directly into your ear, telling you that you, too, are alive. You are here. Don’t miss out on this basic knowing.
And the blue is just so damn blue. The sky was gray, but blue. The water was blue blue, and gray blue, and deep blue, and green blue… it’s gorgeous. I couldn’t help but note all the shades of it. I pointed them out to Major every time I could. I wondered, with deep sadness, how many more times I’d see the ocean in this sort of way? Would it be this blue when the boys are old enough to bring their own children on a whale watch? Would there be whales to watch?
And because the endlessness of the ocean is humbling in all the best ways. When it’s a cold ocean, with high waves, you can’t do anything but trust in it all. Trust the boat. Trust the crew. Trust the day.
I was worried that the boys would get seasick during our journey. There wasn’t so much as a nervous burp.
I thought they wouldn’t get their sea-legs. They were running on deck within an hour.
I thought they’d be bored while we were traveling to the conservation area. There were moments, but they came and went quickly. Thank God for the two little boys of similar ages who were on the boat with us. They were from Toronto, where I guess boys are just as rambunctious as anywhere else. 🙂
I thought they’d be disappointed if we didn’t see a whale. We didn’t, but they weren’t. You know why? Boston Harbor Cruises guarantees that you’ll see a whale during a whale watch. If you don’t, they give you a free ticket to come again. So? “You mean we get to do this again?” “Yes, sir. We get to do it again.” “YESSSSS!!”
I want to tell you that I’m delighted that my baby is 7 years-old. I mean, I’m delighted for him. 7 is a magical age. But I am not delighted, because his bigness is real, his baby-ness is totally nonexistence. He actually reminded me of this, twice. “We’re not little boys. We’re big. I’m 7.” There are no other babies. There won’t be any others. I ache at this understanding. I hurt from it. No please, child, my little sunshine springtime baby, don’t do this to me. Don’t betray me with age and maturity!
I write all the time that motherhood ends. Being a mother doesn’t end, but the season of life absolutely dedicated to motherhood does. This is a good thing. 9 days out of 10, I wish for some fast-forward so we can get on to “the next thing.” But days like this, when he’s full of magic and nothing less, when he is whole and alive and, by extension, demands that I be whole and alive, too… well, this is that 1 day when I wish I could beg for more time… or more diapers… more opportunity for snuggles and kisses and powder smell.
Motherhood ends. My baby woke up 7 this morning. One day, he’ll wake up 17. And 27.
But not today. Today, it’s just 7. The world is his oyster. I’m thrilled for my son. I’m grateful from the top of my head to the very tips of my toes for all that he is and all that he can turn out to be.
Last week was crazy. This week is Vacation Week. It’s still crazy, but less crazy than last week. If that’s possible… which I think it is. Thank you for your patience with me.
Until Wednesday, take care.