One of the things we got to do on our long road trip was see each of Eddi'es first parents. We live 1000 miles apart, so being together in person is always a treat. Todd took care of scheduling days, but we had Eddie decide how he wanted to spend the time. For our day with Ray, his first dad, he settled on a beach trip.
We met Ray in a parking lot about halfway between his house and where were staying and all piled into our car to drive to the beach. I feel like a broken record, I say this so often, but Eddie thinks Ray is the bee's knees. He loves him wholeheartedly. He warmed right up to him as we stuffed ourselves into the car, me in the backseat between the kids in their carseats, Ray up front in the passanger seat.
Despite it being hot hot hot that week, the beach we went to was windy and downright not warm at first. The kids didn't seem to mind. Mari got right to work digging in the sand (she discovered a bitty plastic green army guy at some point, which pretty much made her day).
It was a pleasant day. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Todd dug a big sand pit that the kids jumped into with glee. Mari dared to go into the water at one point, her first time touching the ocean. It even warmed up a bit when the wind stopped blowing. And Eddie was so very happy, there with "my Ray," as he calls him.
For a good stretch of the afternoon I sat on the blanket with Mari next to me in the sand, while Eddie, Todd and Ray explored the beach. I watched the three of them playing at the edge of the water, Eddie dancing and laughing in the waves. He would bounce around Ray, tugging at him, being goofy with him, enjoying Ray and the water and the sun as Todd and Ray talked over his head in the spaces between his words, as adults do. Bigger waves would come and Eddie would reach out for Todd's hand, seeking safety. I watched them for a long time like that, Eddie between his two fathers, finding his comfort and happiness in the space between them as he needed it. Contained in that moment, it felt simple. Relaxed. Right.