The other night I had a dream that I met an angel with brilliant blue eyes, he looked a bit like Paul Newman in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (one of my favorite movies). He told me that he had something very important to tell me. I worried. What if I couldn’t remember his words when I woke up the next day? He said it didn’t matter, that it would stay with me anyway and then he said, “People are too wound up in their thoughts and everybody needs to simplify.” “Is that it?” I asked him, expecting something more philosophical with deeper meaning. “Yep,” he said. “That’s it.”
Looking up from my drink I locked eyes with a pretty blonde woman who appeared to have been watching me for some time. She gave me a big smile. I hoped that she was not worrying about my sidling up to the bar with five kids in tow but her expression said otherwise. Arriving at the dock, she approached me and said, “You’re an excellent mother.” All of the children had sat in my lap and cuddled with me in rotation during the boat ride and I guess she had gathered her own interpretation of our story.
But Grandma is not your ordinary Grandma, other than what happens in her garden she does not allow for her feathers to get too ruffled by playfully rambunctious children and is usually bustling about concocting desserts like rhubarb pie and fresh berry crumble, all in the eye of the children’s hurricane. It is heaven having a support network comprised of Baddy, my mother and my sisters and together we make it all happen; the sandwiches for the beach, the dinners, the cleaning. For two weeks life slows down and we let the island work its charms on us as we sink into the sand, from all of the fresh baked bread and enormous meals, and we play in the waves amongst the seals…and the sharks.
In the mornings, Baddy and I take off for our bike rides together and catch up on conversations that should have taken place months ago but our busy lives never allow for the opportunity. He is very good at shedding the busy and easily slips into relaxo mode. He didn’t even get too upset when a carload of surfers yelled out “Lycra Boy” in passing. He laughed it off where normally he would pump his long legs to chase the car down and give them a taste of Lycra-boy’s super natural powers. I guess Lyra is just not an island thing, even fresh off the back of Tour de France.
When I get a chance I visit Melanie and her house filled with two Ferrets – one white and one ringed like a raccoon – a silky black long-eared bunny rabbit, a Guinea Pig and a fat cat. If Baddy were to walk into the house he would surely have to be taken directly to the hospital for his asthma. The ferrets, who smell like honey, are separated from the others and live in Melanie’s bedroom. With their backs hunched up and their little paws padding on the floor, they follow her around as she gets dressed for all of her social gatherings.
On our final night on the island we all went down for our last ice-cream run. This time we decided to wait in the endless line for the home-made ice cream at The Juice Bar. The children draped around me as we stood in line under a crystal clear sky illuminated by an almost full moon. The humid air had absorbed into their hair and skin and they felt all soft and silky. Touching their olive skin as they looked up at me with their luminescent eyes I thought about what the pretty blonde woman had said to me on the ferry and I realized that it is not that I am an excellent mother but more the lucky recipient of love from all of these children.
As I pack up, I mentally prepare for our move into our new home and I try and store away my peaceful state of mind and the words from my movie-star angel in the hopes that I will be able to try and not get caught up in the stress of it all and remain unwound as I remember the touch of silk and sand and priceless summer days.