I have one child hissing right now because she’s been asked to give someone else a computer turn this afternoon, two hollering up and down the stairs because — STOP EVERYTHING — the TV remote is MISSING (!), and one who’s stuck on the toilet waiting for her sibling to bring her toilet paper which I’m pretty sure he forgot because he’s at my shoulder railing against the injustice of living in a household that’s out of his favorite cereal. It’s full on melt-down in these parts, and I should be helping everyone calm the heck down (by yelling, “GOOD LORD! CALM. DOWN. Geez.“), except I’m too busy having this conversation with yet another child:
“Do I have to take a shower?” asked the kid who just had his hair cut.
“I DO? But WHY?”
“So you don’t itch and scratch and get teeny tiny hairs all over this house and make all the rest of us itch, too.”
“Do I have to take a shower, though? Why can’t I just wash my head in the sink?”
“You have little itch-giving hairs all over your body, kid. Go shower.”
“Well, two times ago when I got a hair cut, you let me wash my head in the sink.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Yes. You did.”
“You may THINK I let you wash your head in the sink, but I can assure you, I didn’t. I would not do that because that doesn’t work. Your imagination may be telling you I did, but read my lips. I. Did. Not.”
“Yes, you DID. And kids have better memories than grown-ups because grown-ups’ minds are packed with a bunch of stuff. Seriously, Mom. SERIOUSLY. Can I just get a wet towel and rub it on my head?”
“No. You can’t. You know what you can do? Shower! Now.”
“You said it yourself that kids have better memories than grown-ups, Mom. You did let me wash my head in the sink.”
“I did say kids have better memories than grown-ups, but I did NOT say a better memory means you don’t have to take a shower. So HA!”
“Why does it matter so much to you?”
“Because it will be faster.”
“Oh. My. Gosh. If you had gotten in the shower at the beginning of this conversation, YOU WOULD BE DONE BY NOW, CHILD. Go. Take. A. Shower.”
“I know how to make you pass out.”
“I know how to make you pass out, Mom. Pressure points, you know. I saw it on a show.”
“Go take a shower.” And then, in low, possessed, dragon voice, “Goooo. Take. A. Showwwwwer. Right. Nowwww.”
He took a shower. I think the red laser beams coming out my eyes and the way my head rotated in a complete circle convinced him.
In conclusion, friends, I have spent the last hour researching islands we can move to, and I’ve picked Tahiti.
Upon arrival, we shall be greeted by our fellow momrades with bright smiles and laugh lines and soft, weathered skin and plumeria decorating wavy hair that falls freely down their backs.
And we will sit at the feet of the wise mamas who will hold our hands, and pat our heads, and say, “There. There.”
Our Village shall be made of lovely, rustic huts on pristine water, and we shall run to and from each other’s houses with coffee and tea and fresh squeezed juices in the morning, after we waken from peaceful nights of sleep, and we shall pass around daiquiris and gin fizzes at sunset, while we sit outside with our feet swinging off the dock and share bits of our souls.
We shall skinny dip and chunky dunk in the moonlight, and we shall recognize the deep and abiding beauty in each one of us while we laugh loudly and freely and long.
We shall talk about how it feels to be underwater, and our momrades will remind us we sometimes walk on it, too, because we are messy, yes, and we drown all the time, but we’re also miraculous and magnificent and rise above, every day. Both/And, friends. Both/And.
And one day, after some sleep and some rest and some very trashy novels; after lounging and laughing and learning to breathe anew; after eating and drinking and feasting on friendship; we’ll wake up and realize we miss our other, pesky paradise, and we’ll pack our straw hats and flowing sarongs and head home.
In the meantime, friends, from my room in Oregon — the one with the chair full of laundry, and the unmade bed, and toy the dog dismantled, and the children fussing from All the Places — I bid you a lovely Tahitian holiday. If only in our minds.
Sending love and magic in the midst of the mess,
All pictures are via Tahiti Tourisme which allows photo downloads. Portrait credits: Grégoire Le Bacon. Tahitian Water Village credit: Philippe Bacchet.