Me, Small + Happy


Yesterday we drove into San Francisco to enjoy the late summer heat at ocean beach with little cousin lolo and her parents. Our bellies were full of pulled noodles and lamb dumplings from house of pancakes and I had not thrown a suit in the car. So in a pair of leggings and the striped tank top I was wearing, I chose to brave it. Ian was watching the babes on a blanket just past the rising tide. "Mama loves this. It's good for me" I said to River nervous for me as she hung on to dada, watching and waving. I waded in, giddy. The exhilarating chill, the stinging salt whipping, the foamy froth - all pure joy tumble-y bliss. I instantly remembered I had begun secretly craving this since giving birth, over two years ago. I can't hardly believe it's been years since I've been immersed fully under waves.


Yesterday afternoon brought me to tears. I felt like a innocent frolicking child, fully myself in an untouched way, healed, super happy silly. Why has it taken this long to be here? I almost forgot I feel I have the sea in me. The picture above I pulled off facebook from over a decade ago after I had just entered my freshman year at uc santa barbara with the caption, 'me, small and happy." I've tasted the sublime in the ocean ever since I was a little girl and would describe to others that going topsy-turvey holding your breath under water is like being in the most delicious laundry dryer. It's a wild mixture of fear and utter delight in being subsumed by a force so powerful and pleasing. In my first semester in college, I'd wake just after dawn gripping a craigslist board on a rickety brown schwinn to the beach from my dorm room, the streets of that party town utterly empty, winding alone to the coast. There was the time one of my best friends and I slipped into deep dark waters in the middle of a sticky summer night to discover that we had waded into a current of bioluminescent creatures, submerging our limbs felt like activating sparkly milky ways. Again, slight terror and confounding happiness at being engulfed in nature. The lazy evenings when the surface would ripple glassy in the dipping sunset and the coming cold a signal to make it back to shore. I honestly would not even call myself an experienced surfer after all these years, just a girl who knows that going, paddling, or wading out is worth it. Always, always, always the ocean has been healing for me. It's where I've felt God over and over growing up. In the salt crystals dried on my forearm, the gasping, the struggle, the wild disorientation of blues, the fighting and frolicking. But mostly in the gleeful slightly scared surrender to something so good.  

I'm not really sure what happened yesterday or how to explain it. Just that a primal part of me shifted or reconnected. Something clicked and exploded and melted or lit. I felt like a sweet baby daughter. Not a introverted, hyper-creatively ambitious, stay-at-home/part-time work-from-home, natural-minded, aspiringly graceful mother of two adorable rightly-demanding little people. No descriptors in the water. I was just a child who felt free. Young motherhood is so intense because you exist in constant vigilance to another's states of being. Their hunger, thirst, interest, boredom, impulses. You can't just say, "hey be cool to your brother" and leave it at that and do something else more interesting. So much depends on the tending and follow through. Gentle, patient, firm guiding grounded in love can be so exhausting and relentless. The constant caring and quiet repetitive service. Reasoning, explaining, waiting, consoling, holding, giving. Without a doubt, it's what I'm called to do right now with my lover. We made these babies and raising them the best we know how is heeding our creative calling. I am undone and remade by this work daily. It's what I'm made to do. In truth, it's one of the things I was created to do. The first though, I was reminded yesterday, was to feel the love of my Maker in ocean waves and be happy. The first, is to be fully alive, fully me, overflowing, thankful, and boundless with glee.

Alexa Heung