I close my eyes and I can hear the waves hitting the beach…
I often write about the beach, but yesterday I was there. My daughter Clara and I escaped for a few days and drove three hours to Santa Cruz. We went down the old River Road, past the home of Tellias and Eleora (the ancient Vampires), down through the old Chinese town of Lock.
We went over draw bridges and past sloughs, and vineyards, through small towns like Lock and Walnut Grove that seem to still have a foot in the 19th Century, then through the rolling green hills surrounding the Silicone Valley, and on to the coast.
It was a long drive, and we talked the entire way.
While I drove, Clara looked up information on her phone. We discussed Alexander Hamilton and his interesting life. We discovered that he has a son who died in Sacramento. I never knew that. We might go look for the grave tomorrow.
We talked about music, we talked about the election, we talked about the history of the areas we drove through. We talked about college.
The first thing we did when we arrived in Santa Cruz was go to UC Santa Cruz. The campus is spectacularly set on a hill overlooking the ocean and rolling hills. The buildings are set among the redwoods, almost more like a National Park than a university. Yes, she would like to go there. They have a stellar biological science program with human biology and biochemistry studies my child is interested in pursuing.
I needed to get away for a few days. I still need to get away and clear my mind. Our children are often surprised that parents still have their hopes and dreams, both for their children and aside from their children. As I drove along and shared thoughts with my daughter, my mind split off to my own thoughts of people I used to know, dreams I used to have, lost love, lost opportunities, and then back to the present. In my one hundred and fifty six years I’ve been through so many worm holes, forest paths, warehouses full of nightmares and cobwebs. I’ve felt the sand between my toes and the waves on my legs, warm kisses on my neck, and cool sweeter kisses on my lips. I’ve read, and traveled, explored, discovered and created. There have been countless books, and discussions into the wee hours of the mornings. I’ve walked so many paths, driven so many roads, and waited in so many airports and train stations.
And now, I’m not sure where I’m going. It all seems to have stopped.
The calico cat is sitting in the window next to me, watching the rain.
I can hear the math tutor with her lovely accent talking about when she grew up in India, a Muslim girl going to a Catholic school, learning math and science. Yes, the politicians who preach on TV to all who will hear, are so far removed from real life and the wonderful people who populate real life. They give me a headache and a heart ache.
My children send me pee your pants funny political memes night and day. At least I have my sense of humor to laugh everything they show me. You have to be able to share all of the insanity with your teens.
On Wednesday morning we sat outside as the storm came in having coffee and laughing about how much sand we had in our hair, blown from the beach as we walked by. Again we talked, about Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, and Lord of the Rings. I don’t like the movies and told the child that she must read the books. My copies are almost worn out. The stories aren’t of battles and war – but of friendship and finding one’s way, and one’s true self. I told her to read it just to see how much her mother is like Pippin.
We talked about ideas and war. We spoke of World War One. It was the first modern war and a horrible war for those who returned, just as it is horrible for the men and women who are returning from war now. Clara told me about learning about Eugene V. Debs, a socialist who ran for office in the first decades of the 20th Century. He was imprisoned for speaking his mind, then released. Debs was forgotten, and now people are starting to remember. We spoke of women who fought for the right to vote and be considered equal and not property. I told her of times when women were not allowed to go to college or have certain jobs. I told her of brilliant women who were held in contempt and subjected to open hostility for using their God given brains. We both still find it surprising that so many people have been denied rights over the years, or held in contempt because of their religion or the color of their skin. These are smart people – good people.
We talked about surfing and seashells. We talked about music and coffee and my mind kept going to gray and fuzzy places. We watched birds and otters, and dogs playing on the beach.
We talked. Actually, I mostly let Clara talk and I listened. We laughed a lot. We found horrible songs on the radio and I sang along.
Clara said the kids in her math class all think she is smarter than she is. At the same time she thinks the kids in her AP classes thinks she is stupid. She feels trapped in between, yet she has no doubts about college.
She shouldn’t have any doubts and I refuse to plant any into her brain. I’ve told her to ignore anyone who does.
I haven’t slept since we returned, sitting alone in the night, listening to the storm.
History if full of negativity. That is why we need to keep it out of the minds of our teens and young adults. For once, lets creative a world that is positive and full of wonder. I want them to have a world where all things are possible. I want them to have a world where they always find joy in discovery and are challenged in good ways.
My friend Adam once said, “I could spend my time thinking about howling at the moon, or I could spend my time understanding the moon, then it isn’t so scary.” The wisdom of a Werewolf.
I love the energy of youth and the determination of those who dream. Let us make sure we never do anything to try to stop that.
May all of your adventures be good ones. May you learn something from all of your conversations with your kids.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman