The dates have been on our calendar since last summer. Every week, my daughter asks me two questions:
1. How far away is her birthday?
2. When are we going to New Hampshire?
We were almost embarrassed by the fact that we took yearly, family vacations. I mean, we struggle paycheck to paycheck. Every month our mortgage gets paid on time we breathe a sigh of relief heard around the world. Or, at least our neighborhood.The truth of of the matter is, if it weren’t for my Mama and her generosity, we wouldn’t be able to go away at all.
But every summer since I was born has been spent on Lake Winnipesaukee in a little town called Melvin Village and for better or worse, it’s part of me. The sound of the water, the smell of the pine, the feel of the gravel underneath bare feet. It’s become ingrained in me, and now, ten years of being married later, in my husband as well. We’re not unlike our El- counting down the days to when we get to wake with the sun and swim in the cold dark waters before the beach gets crowded. (Ok, so that’s just me who loves to do that).
We relish the time we get to spend uninterrupted with no traffic noise, no commuting, no bus or train rides. We need that time to breathe, to remember. We get to dream together, talking long into the night about what we had hoped for that didn’t come true, what we could hope for in the future. We remember what we look like with sun tans and wild blueberry stains on tee-shirts. We hover around campfires and devour book by book and knit and color and sing songs and drink local beers. We drive for nearly an hour, getting lost and short with each other in the deep, dark woods to a little shack in the middle of nowhere that sells the best ice cream you have EVER had and then giggle and sing, chocolate faced and sated.
We drink cold white wine and eat large shrimp cocktail on the deck at Garwoods and watch the boats come in. We write. I write a lot. And cook a lot in that little cabin kitchen, and make cocktail hour a fourth, mandatory meal. And hope that this will be the year I finish this damn book. And that he gets a new job. And that our kid stops growing so damn fast.
This year we will be taking off for three whole weeks- and I’m not going to feel guilty about it at all. Not at all. I get to be with my Mom and my sister and her new hubby and my little one and my beloved. I’ll watch my husband finally teach my kiddo how to swim, and watch her ride her bike past all of the little red cabin to the one where we stay, the big one right on the water. I’ll get to breathe through this terrible year of sadness and uncertainty, blow past it like dust, and rejoice in the knowing that I have a God who is great.