breaking out and open

Yesterday we went crabbing at Waldport. It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny, and not very windy in the bay. The kids went out on a boat and had a little adventure when the motor died and they had to be towed in. They thought it was great. We also put some pots over the side of the dock, but didn't get any there. All the crabs were farther out I guess, and several big ones were caught. (Not by me, I didn't get to go out on the boat.) Willow was not much interested in the crabbing itself, but the boys were fascinated by the crabs and wanted to be directly involved in all the aspects of crabbing. (If my mom were reading this blog, I'd have to be compelled at this point to reassure her that yes, safety precautions were taken. They wore life jackets and we were careful to watch that they didn't get their feet tangled in the rope.)

When I was a little girl we went crabbing once (I say "we", though I didn't participate, I just watched as a few adults worked) and I thought it was interesting but not exciting enough to want to do again and I don't remember being struck by the beauty of the coast. This time I found the pine and other unidentifiable smells ambrosial and the gentleness of the sun and sand and the fog and mist lovely. I saw a shiny metal rowboat, and had an intense sudden longing to take it out myself.

When I was a kid we didn't do these things. I thought you just didn't, unless you were special, maybe with some special talent or privilege or physical ability or because you'd grown up with it. Such things, like taking a rowboat out on the water, were unknowns, possibly dangerous.

A few weekends ago we had the treat of going out on a catamaran on a lake, so large it felt like being in a bay with the sea just beyond. It was beautiful. It felt like freedom. The person that owns the catamaran, my husband's uncle, is also a craftsman and that day we also got to see the amazing things he's done to his house. I hadn't know this about him before, so it brought home to me that yes, ordinary people really do just say, "I want to do this thing," and then they do it. They don't have to get permission from anybody. They don't have to know they're talented. They just do it because they have a vision and desire. What an inspiring thing, but how sad is it that it is inspiring, that it is not just already what I am, taken for granted.

I want to protect my children, be reasonable about safety. But I don't want them to develop a sense of cautionary inertia and be forty years old before they discover their sense of rightfulness in doing what they want to in the world. New things are wonderful for the sake of being new, and can develop into loved things, cherished things. I feel like I have so much life yet to live. I want for them that they will never not feel like that.


My kids have never resisted going to bed at night, because they get what they want, which is me. We sleep in a whorl of bodies, with my head in the center, two little girls to either side of me, one boy perpendicular to us, and the other parallel to us and adjacent to his brother. Before we drop off to sleep we talk. It's the one time of day that they have my full undivided attention. I'm not a get-down-on-the-floor-with-the-kids kind of parent (as my husband is) so this is important. We talk about the events of the day, and the kids' various philosophical musings about life. We sing. They each have their special songs. For Jake it's an Irish folk song that I've been singing to him since he was a baby. For Noah it's Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Wwillow likes a variety of standards; regularly she'll request Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, You Are My Sunshine, and I've Been Workin' on the Railroad.

Lately we've been saying the Ki-Aikido motto together.

Our motto:

Let us have a universal spirit
that loves and protects all creation
and helps all things grow and develop.
To unify mind and body
and become one with the universe
is the ultimate purpose of our study.

Four major principles
to unify mind and body:

One: keep one-point
Two: relax completely
Three: keep weight underside
Four: extend Ki

Then ensued some discussion about the magic (as they see it) of Ki. I was really tired, so I said, "let's just sing Jake's special song and go to sleep." Rowan started singing instead which was just heart-breakingly sweet, and we listened for a while. I said how cute it was. Jake said, "I know, I can't stand it! It almost makes me want to faint with joy!" Hearing that almost made me want to faint with joy.

Then we sang:

Our ship she's ready to bear away
Come comrades o'er the stormy sea
Her snow-white wings, they are unfurled
And soon she'll swim in a watery world.

Do not forget, love, do not grieve
The heart is true and can't deceive
My heart and hand I'll give to thee
So farewell my love, remember me.

Farewell my love, so bright as pearl
My lovely dark-haired blue-eyed girl
And when I'm crossing the deep blue sea
I hope in Ireland you'll think of me.

(The song is called Farewell My Love, Remember Me. You can listen to it here sung by Nancy Curtin.)