Tuesday, August 03, 2010

State update: South Carolina

This past weekend we took Alice on her first flight, down to Myrtle Beach for a nice visit with Aunt Kelsey and the vacationing hordes.  Alice absorbed everything with her standard air of studied nonchalance.  She slept through the takeoff from Newark, pausing from her suckling of the pacifier to smile broadly after a particularly violent lurch upward.  When we held her in the gentlest rushes of the ocean surf, or when we towed her around the pool, buoyed by her hilariously absorbent diaper, she kept her poker face on -- not smiling but not unhappy either, her expressive little eyebrows raised in a face of wary enjoyment.  Hey, if she's not crying, she must enjoy it.  This is our mantra.

Today L told me that our super said that our baby is beautiful, but that she doesn't smile very much.  I was kind of taken aback by this, but I think he's right.  I think I'm learning how to reach her humor buttons -- how to get her to giggle or squeal by crowing her name in falsetto, how to make her eyes curl in a smile from a vigorous game of pattycake or a few fun lifts into the air, where she can revel in her secret identity as Space Baby.  Still, she's not the most effusive kid in the world, but this is fine. She seems to be very observant, and I like that a little better, I think.  Dig deep, little girl -- always investigate -- always ask the question -- remember your intuition, your irony -- take it all in -- save your smiles, but don't be stingy.

We had a great time in South Carolina.  The people are so distinct down there -- many of the vacationers were orange, blond, carefree people, decked in breezy shorts and dresses, coating their words in molasses and tumbling out of SUVs.  Some of the kids down there, though, the ones who seem local, have a certain wildness to them; glaring, wiry young men, and lithe young women in tight shorts with dark tans.  There's a certain hunger there, that attitude you see on the beach avenues but not while you're waiting for a table at Tommy Bahama.  Still, it was great to see Kelsey and to eat like kings for a few days.  I can't describe the exquisite pleasure of settling in to a ten-dollar plate of a full pound of shrimp dusted with Old Bay,  armed with a pile of napkins and wet naps and nice crisp Bud Light with Lime.  It was heaven.  (You know, the older I get the more I realize that it's all I ever wanted: a plateful of shrimp ready to be peeled, and a nice cold beer.  I have many fond memories of this, which makes me wonder why I don't make this happen more often.)

Anyways, I really like the photo above. It makes me think of fatherhood and what I'm supposed to be doing.  I feel like I was doing it right for that brief moment.  Welcome to the world -- I have you -- this is the ocean, it is beautiful -- we will always come back here -- I will always have you. 

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