Dear Atticus, on making memories

Dear Atticus,

We are at the beach this weekend. This house is one of my favorite places, and I was excited to bring you here over the summer. You decided to celebrate our week of vacation by refusing to sleep. We thought you were teething, but your teeth didn’t appear for a couple more months. So we’re not really sure why you were so miserable. It made us kind of miserable, too, mostly from being tired. You woke up and cried and tossed and turned. We tried to calm you. I nursed you. Sometimes it settled you, sometimes not. One night I sat up to try to feed you and accidentally kneed you in the face. That was the real low point of the trip.

It wasn’t all bad. You had fun with Grammy and Uncle Joseph, and we had great meals. You weren’t a huge fan of the ocean, but you sat and watched things contentedly. Sometimes you toppled over into the sand, but you survived.

Atticus in July

I don’t like to manufacture moments, but I have to admit that I was disappointed that you didn’t have a better time here in July. I have always loved coming here, and I want you to have a good time here, too. I know that you won’t remember anything that happened over the summer, so I guess I just wish that my memories of your first trip were happier.

I have amazing memories from staying here with family and friends. And I have some sad ones: misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and relationships that have dwindled. When I am here, I am an uncomfortable middle schooler and a high school graduate and a newlywed and a twenty-something and your mama. All of those things, all at once. I hope you have places like that in your life, places that let you see how you have changed. You have already changed so much since we were here.

When we came over the summer, we planned meticulously for weeks. This time, we threw a bunch of stuff in the car and hoped for the best. I guess that means that we are changing, too. I feel more comfortable and confident in who we are as a family and in knowing that I can take care of you. We are trying again this weekend, showing you the ocean and letting you walk on the beach. Exposing you to new things, making memories, learning what you like.

I made a note that you don’t like being kneed in the face, so we’ll try to avoid that this time.


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