We went to the beach each of the three full days I was there and I soaked it all up. I played cold in the water with my nieces. I found periwinkles and crab shells and feathers with them. I ate sandy sandwiches with lemonade. And I walked with Kathleen up and down the beach when she got fussy. I thought about last year on the 4th of July when I walked up and down the beach with my cousin's baby girl, just a tiny two-month-old bundle, how she nestled into me and fell asleep to the sound of the waves, and how I felt the need to hold her and walk with her, but how it made me cry because I hadn't had the chance to walk like that with my baby. Henry never made it to the beach, though he heard about the ocean from me so much. Walking with my cousin's baby last year was a reminder of so much that had never been and never would be. Walking with Kathleen this year reminded me of that too, but also of what is and what is yet to be. In summers to come she will play in the sand and the sea, she'll take walks with her grampy and make sand castles with her nana. The tides will continue to flow in and out. The ocean will continue to stretch out its endless blue expanse. And my love will swell like the waves and stretch beyond where you can see for Henry and for Kathleen.
Henry out and about:
- At dinner while I was visiting my family, my brother-in-law commented that he thought Kathleen looked a lot like Henry. I see it sometimes, certain expressions. A bit later, my niece said, "I miss Henry." I told her I missed him too. "But," she said, brightening, "now you have Kakaleen." From a grown-up, this would have bothered me, but from a five-year-old, I accept her thought process, her attempt to sort it all out.
- My cousin told me about his bird feeder and how a cardinal came and sat with them for a while last week.
- Last night at dinner, our friend's daughter wanted her dad to read to her. The book she picked was Hello, Henry. They had gone to the dump on Henry's birthday and visited the book discard area, where they found half a dozen Henry books, including this one, one of their daughter's current favorites.