We sat down in a small room, decorated in deep reds, with antique looking paintings and busts. Only in Europe can a small Baroque palace be so hidden and casual; old things are common here. We sat at a small table facing a tiny stage. The lighting was dim, the kind of lighting you wish for when you’re falling in love.
Three men in dark suits climbed on stage, one with a cajon and one with a guitar. They began playing and singing and you instantly started moving. I imagined you dancing. The music reminded me of the Gypsy Kings, you will learn to dance in our living room listening to them, just like I did.
It was overwhelming in such a small space, your dad and I held hands and leaned forward without noticing, only breaking that stance to clap furiously at the end of each song. After the third number a single dancer stepped through the crowd and onto the stage. Her feet moved furiously fast, her moves were both rigid and fluid. She snapped each turn and pose and yet seemed to float. Her feet tapped and stomped in time with the music, a fourth instrument. She was lovely and although flamenco is known as a partner dance, she was so mesmerizing that we never thought to look for a second dancer.
After the show, we stumbled back onto the cobbled streets, we felt like Alice coming back out of the rabbit hole, trying to come to terms with reality again. One day I’ll tell you the story of Alice in Wonderland, or maybe we’ll watch the movie or maybe you’ll read the book.
We wandered back home, holding hands and enjoying being young and out late at night with no one else to think about. Those moments will become rare now that you’re coming. Instead I will get to hold you at 3 am, when you wake up hungry, just the two of us awake in the dark. And your dad will have early mornings, holding you in his big arms, half asleep and playing video games to stay awake. We are excited about those moments. New late night memories, but with you.
The next morning we went to Park Guell. High up, overlooking Barcelona, it is another Gaudi creation – a huge landscaped park full of fanciful walkways and mosaics. Although the park is always busy, we were lucky to have some quiet moments to enjoy the scenery, to talk and walk, which we love to do. We made sure to take lots of pictures there, to fulfill our promise to family.
And our last night in Barcelona we didn’t go out for dinner until 9:30pm. We walked on a now-familiar tree lined boulevard and sat down at a restaurant we had gone to before, wanting something familiar on our wistful last night of babymooning.
And now I’m going to tell you things that might make you cringe. Or they may make you smile, or think we’re old saps.
Over dinner, your dad looked me in the eye when we talked. He held my hand across the table, he stared at me and then told me I was beautiful. He made me laugh and he looked at me like I was special. When I flirted, he flirted back, even though by now he knows all my moves. When I ate, he laughed at my glee and made me feel interesting for loving food. We talked about our trip and about things we had observed or read, about what was happening in the world and what was happening in our own small world. We people watched together and shared dessert.
As we walked home, he kissed me on every street corner.
Why am I telling you all this Charlie? It’s because I hope for you, so many things, and one of the things I hope for the most is that you will fall in love. That you will find a wife who makes you a better man, who makes you excited about life, who makes you wish for full moons and street corners to kiss on. And I hope you can love like your dad does – a big love that doesn’t care what others think, that delights in the person they love, that gives so freely. I hope love makes you ridiculous, sometimes serious and always better than the day before. It might be hard for us as your parents to let you go when you do fall in love, when you want to go and make your own family away from us. But I want you to know, no matter how hard it might be for me in that moment, that I want all these things for you and I’m excited for you to find them.
I’m glad that you will be my baby for awhile first though. I’m going to hold on tight and hope your dad will whisper to me when it’s time to slowly but surely let go.
That was our trip to Barcelona. And we will take even more trips with you. You will adventure with us too. And so will all your siblings…however many of those there happen to be!