One of the first things I remember about falling in love with surfing was that it was spring. The wind was constantly onshore, I had finally moved beyond my learner’s permit and awkwardly vaulting over the middle-seat of carpool in a uniform skirt. The air actually smelled exciting; like black forest tea. I could hear the ocean everywhere. In the dark of morning I’d stuff my 6′ 2″ board into the hand-me-down car my sisters and I would collectively total. Surf wax would melt all over its reclined passenger seat while I counted down the remaining seconds of that eternal seventh period, then I’d drive to the coast as the grasses greened, the waves from yesterday dripped out of my nose and Jimmy Eat World sang about everything being fine. I’d wipeout all alone on the coldest closeouts of the year, bleaching and breaking my fine hair in the sun just beyond the nude beach where a dead whale was supposedly decomposing. It’s not always a bad thing when something doesn’t perfectly agree with you. It was the start of a love story.
Fast forward-nearly two decades later. With all the different seasons of waves under my feet, it’s pretty obvious that spring is the crappiest one. It’s better for whale watching or beach clean-ups or for finding abandoned shells in the sand. I’m home with tangled hair and an uneven neck tan. I have children. They are asleep and awake; awake and asleep. They are calm and unraveled; strong and soft. Easy to soothe, hard to leave. I wake to their sounds. I move to their moods now.
Becoming a mother has transcended me. There’s an internal superpower you access when you think to turn pipe-cleaners and raw pasta noodles into a bracelet while operating on four hours of sleep. You access caverns of your heart you didn’t think you’d ever feel when you drop a baby off at school who was once compared to a poppy seed in a pregnancy app.
Some days I feel like Bat Girl wearing mom jeans and an extra, extra coat of vegan deodorant. Most days I feel like livestock. I sleep with my eyes open, occasionally respond to my name and eat standing up. I don’t know how to dress myself. My kids throw up and climb all over me.
I thought, the other day as I embraced the ocean in a hug, that if I ever feel like I’m drowning, I always reach for the water. I’ve spent days thinking about how to twirl a narrative around those words that came to me just like a wave. But I don’t think that’s the most important part of this story
This morning, I whirled my leash around my board and left behind the wind-bent waves, the open sky and the icy windswell to head home to my girls. I’ve started another love story now.