Barcelona is delicious. Mango-coconut juices and salty stacks of every kind of nut. Soft and spicy paella spiked with gigantic prawns and succulent bits of pork ribs. Smooth avocados peeled and eaten in the sand and smooshed all over our faces and underneath our fingernails.
The uncles and aunties ruffle the boys hair and help them with their tickets on the metro. The abuelas wink and the grandfathers chuckle and lift them into seats on the bus. The boys play their part—charming everyone with their sincerest attempts at por favor and gracias.
The sound of the waves crashing against the sand. Chubby dark skinned beauties squealing with delight. Rolled ‘r’s and the passionate music of spoken Spanish and Catalonian.
I’m getting better at this. I had no plan when we arrived. Only a few pages hastily printed at 11:30 pm the night before we left. But each day we have an idea and we follow our noses and our instinct to out of the way xocoa shops and cool squares with fountains and random jugglers.
I let the boys teach me about being present. Stopping at every pet stand on Las Ramblas—proving that just because you’ve seen one does not mean you’ve seen them all. Making games in the hotel room and at restaurants and to help pass the time when we go the wrong way and have to walk a long way back.
They teach me about living with reckless abandon. Throwing themselves in the sand fully clothed to make ‘sand angels.’ ‘Ah come on, Mama! It’ll be fine!’ B said when I declined. They climb to the very top of the rope structure and then shout, ‘Look at me, Mama! I’m not even holding on!’
We see lots of important things and decide that perhaps Gaudi’s greatest contribution to art and architecture is providing the perfect place to play tag.
Concessions and compromises are made. Bridger does not have to hold my hand, but he does have to walk right in front of me. Caid can play with the random card board box—soaking it in the waves and tearing it into tiny pieces—so long as he promises to throw it all away when he is done. He does throw it, without being reminded.
We improvise. Plastic bags—not store bought toys—end up being the tool of choice in the sand. The boys run through the beach-shower ‘sprinklers’ since the waves are too strong for swimming. We all four sleep in on king sized bed instead of two doubles. There is a pull out single bed, but even big boys don’t want to be left out of the snuggling cuddle fest. (A fact I discovered after sensing some sniffles from the little bed after lights out. Me: B, are you alright? B: um…yeah. Me: Is something wrong, Beast? B: It’s just that…no, nothings wrong. Me: Oh sweety, what’s the matter? B: (crying) Well, I just want to snuggle with you all night too! Me: Oh good! Will you please? I was hoping you would!)
We miss Scott during his 9am to 2am schedule, but we’re so thankful to be here. To have a nice hotel. To snuggle up with him when he gets in. We take lots of pictures to keep him updated on our day.
We fall deeper in love. With travelling. With a new culture. With one another and our own unique expression of family.
What a life.