The sunlight was spilling into the room sideways. Theo and Sully were draped over my body. One was tucked in next to me with an arm resting over my chest. The other was horizontal, over my legs with his arms stretched out long. We are a pile of bleached bones, salt and seaweed bits still in our hair from the morning swim. We did this on this day and that day. We did this for two weeks straight, fell into this pleasantly exhausted heap together. I managed to fill every space inside of me with the memorization of ocean blues and greens: pale, indigo, pinkish, and until I felt utterly whole and brine-filled on this trip. Blissfully saturated with ocean, pools, outdoor showers, tropical vegetation, shell collecting, family. As our plane ascended and I watched Tampa Bay fade away from the airplane window, I didn't feel as sad as I usually do when I leave the ocean, especially here where I am from. I felt an odd calm, a see you next time, love.
And here we are eight days later, still a heap of sun-kissed limbs tangled together on a weekday afternoon after we've been to the pool for hours. Blessed coolness and shade and a soft bed. We read and tell stories. I comb my fingers through their hair, which is no longer salty but still thick with sunscreen build up and strands highlighted from the summer sun.
Sully is anxiously waiting for the UPS truck, for they will deliver his first school backpack and lunchbox. He turned five last week. Five! I did a little photo shoot to document this milestone. If you want to take a peek, the photos are here. Theo is mildly enthused about school starting back up due to the time it will take away from lego building and bike riding, but that will change as fast as the sparrow flies once he's back with friends and his favorites like art class and learning about the world.
Both of my boys will be in school together starting in less than two weeks. This will be the first time that they will both be away from me for a full school day, five days a week. I'm constantly asked what I'm going to do with all of my time; aren't you just so happy? Yes and no. I'm thrilled for Sully to begin this new chapter, but the chapter is so big that my heart clenches when I think about it too much. The very real truth is this: I am heartbroken. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has made me happier than having the opportunity to spend the last seven years with these two. Do not be mislead, I've thrown my body on my bed and screamed into my pillow. I've punched air. There's more than one secret chocolate stash in my house, and I heard Sully say "fuck" the other day when he couldn't get one of his Pokemon figures to stay upright. That is my word, my fault. Some days they drive me absolutely mad - little terrorists plotting against my sanity. But most days they stretch my love in ways I never dreamed possible. They've cracked me up and rattled me into the most beautiful version of myself I've ever known. Now here they are, about to run off to recess and Spanish class, making friends I won't know and getting library cards in their own names. And me - oh, I expect some days and some moments to be downright unbearable. Their absence will surely ache. But like our recent trip to the ocean, the filling up of salty air and washing and wringing out from the waves, I am full. Full of their beautiful selves and impossibly grateful that I had this chance to free up our time and life over these last seven years to go slow and simply, together. I trust this will be enough to carry me into our next chapter.
I sit and turn the words over and over in my mind. The early years: we've lived them and loved them. Wow, I can say that now.