In the pictures, we are happy and at ease. In the car driving toward the island, we’re remembering vacations before babies. Here’s the truth: Clara’s not sleeping well, I’m inside waiting out a nap, I haven’t finished a book yet, I spend thirty minutes sunscreening and diapering for thirty minutes of play, I explain that she’s so clingy because she’s tired and teething. But, it’s weird, you know? All your baby has to do is smile or wrap those baby hands around your neck and forgiveness was never even a choice. In fact, there is no need for forgiveness; there’s only acceptance, which is a new, strangely relaxing place for me to be.
There have been some of those crystallized, intimate moments, though, that I always imagined having the week before my sister married. While my brother watched Clara for an hour, I went out with my mom, Sam, and Joanna to the Mucky Duck for light beers. I am always amazed at the clarity with which my sister can articulate her own experiences. She told me that in a recent talk, Dad analogized marriage to buying a new car, specifically that even if it appears to not need a change, it’s probably best to get the marriage oil refreshed every few thousand miles.* And, Sam, with classic Samlike wisdom, said that comparison made her excited, that she likes maintenance. She likes working things out and keeping things up. Perhaps some of us tend toward entropy and some of us don’t mind waiting in line at Super Lube if we know the car will last longer because we made the effort.
*This conversation beats the marriage talk my grandma gave Aaron before he proposed. She said I wasn’t a new flashy car but a used, dependable one. Yes, “used” was the exact word of choice. And I so was not.
Joanna, Mark, and Alex fishing on the T-Dock. Joanna is only twelve, by the way. Isn’t she an uncannily beautiful sixth grader?
Tim and Sam, the soon-to-be newly wedded.
I have a soft spot for all parents, especially my brother. He’s a great dad.
Mother and daughters.
Clara’s first dip in the pool.