It was great having a California vacation with the boys, but nothing compares to a Philippine beach in the summer. Every Pinoy craves our brand of sun, scorching as it can be. Cold beaches may be beautiful, but only to behold. Our beaches swallow us up. They are there to behold, but also experience in all their messy glory. Yesterday we made it at last! Let me tell you, I never get tired of that first breathtaking view of the sea. It was just me, D., my boys and a vast expanse of ocean. It was an extra gift to have the beach to ourselves all day and we made the most of it.
It was so special for me to see my boys frolicking together again, the way they used to when they were very little. Today, they are constantly engaged in mutual verbal assault, so to see them getting physical and playful was pretty wonderful. Granted, yesterday’s frolic inevitably involved someone crashing headlong into the water or begging for my intervention, but it was all good. I watched them all day with a full heart. I kept my phone in my bag, resisted the urge to document the day through it, and consciously entered every moment with them. During our midday rest from the sun, one of them asked for my phone. There was a little bit of sulking and talk of impending boredom when I declined, but we soon found ourselves in the midst of a favorite word game, enjoying each other in a way all families should–in nature, without screens.
No photograph was taken, posted or Instagrammed. There will be none on this post. I’ve written about this before. In our current obsession to photograph, document, tweet everything, I feel as though we step out and away from what’s actually before us. We are ironically focused on creating the ability to look back on the day by completely missing out on the fullness of the experience unfolding in real time. How tragic is that? There are moments that beg to be photographed, I know that and want it as well, but surely there is much to be said about shunning all artificial lenses and holding open only those that live within us.
There were no photos, but I seem to remember everything so much more vividly. I’m still laughing at how my younger one struggled to put on his goggles while he held on to me, treading in the middle of the ocean with nothing to stand on. It was just bubbles, near-drowning, giggles and way too much splashing everywhere. I’m still bursting with joy at the memory of them racing each other repeatedly into the water and the endless glee that accompanied their every landing. When was the last time they enjoyed each other like that? I’m still hearing my older one complain about the fish nibbling his toes as he lay, stomach down, on the shore. We thought that was invitation to have the same nature foot spa experience, so we quickly abandoned the sand for the same. There we were, bellies inches from sand, trying to be as still and quiet as we haven’t been in ages. We breathed quietly together, bumping gently against each other in the water. Nothing could have captured everything that was in that moment.
I cannot say how grateful I am for yesterday. One knows that mothering is peppered with good days and difficult, and the latter sometimes leave indelible marks on the heart. But perfect moments are there to lighten and brighten this sometimes heavy load, if only we could remember to be fully there.