I am in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Henry and Alice sit chatting in the living room.

Alice: Are you afraid of snakes?

Henry: No way.

Alice: Are you afraid of monsters?

Henry: Nope.

Alice: Are you afraid of spiders?

Henry: Ha! No. I'm not afraid of anything.

Alice: Yes, you are. You're afraid of the dark.

Long pause.

Henry: Okay. There is that.

Where water comes together with other water

Monday evening. At the beach.

Erin sits on her towel in the sand. The late-day sun shines on her skin. It is a beautiful evening.

Alice runs up from the water's edge.

"Mum," she says. "I have to pee."

Erin looks around. The bathrooms are a ten-minute walk away. Most of the tourists have already left the beach to find a restaurant or a barbecue for supper. The beach is almost entirely ours.

"Why don't you just go in the ocean, sweetie?" she says.

Alice eyes go wide.


Erin smiles.

"Go for it."

Erin watches our youngest tip-toe into the surf. She wades in until the water is about waist-level. She crouches a tiny bit, then lets her eyes go out of focus for about 15 seconds.

In this amount of time, a new family has arrived at the beach. They're heading Erin's way. They're passing by our base camp as Alice emerges from the water.

"Mum! That was great!" Alice shouts, spreading her arms wide. "The ocean is like one HUGE TOILET!"

(Note: the title of this post is stolen from an excellent collection of poetry by Raymond Carver)