Photo: No matter the location, when I see those two fuzzy little heads together, I feel content. There is nothing better than when they are looking at the world together.
I live in a place where everyone has a “house on the Cape” or a “place in the mountains.” Everyone seems to have parents who “have a place in Maine,” and they all spend week after week in these exotic and far-flung (read: 1-2 hour drive) locations. It’s a thing in New England. If you’re a New Englander, you’ve got a “place to summer.” There is a “summer place” for you. If it ain’t your place, it’s your mama’s place. If it ain’t your mama’s place, it’s the place your grandparents left for “everyone to enjoy.” No matter what, though, there is a little cabin some place with your name on it, a place for you to go and be.
And if you ain’t a New Englander, well… you’re shit out of luck.
Ok, that’s not totally true. But you are certainly competing with everyone else on Homeaway and, well, you cry a little when you start looking at the prices. It’s just so unfair.
So this year, Mom and I devised this scheme. A big-huge chunk of time in Maryland. A time away. Time enough to see everyone, to do a bunch of stuff, to really enjoy ourselves and be ready to go home when the time comes. The boys have done everything from be in the sacred places of a life gone by to splash around with grandma and grandpa at the pool. I’ve stayed up too late watching Twitch with my sister, perused local yarn shops and chatted with lovely shop owners, and shared a pint with my own personal muse not once, but twice. Magic.
What I’ve noticed in these last few weeks is how much my boys have come alive. I’ve learned a lot about them as I’ve watched them adjust for context, explore with curiosity, and test themselves because they felt free and comfortable to do so in a new place.
The most noticeable thing are the physical changes: the boys have turned a crispy, golden brown under the hot Maryland sun. “That melanin is finally kicking in!” I’ve been screaming. They are like, “what’s that even mean?” Their hair has also grown a lot, and Minor’s is suddenly really, really curly (I partially attribute this to some awesome shampoo and conditioner that Britt gifted to me. If you have curly hair or your kids do, I recommend it!). He’s gotten these highlights too, thanks to the sun, that shimmer in the light when he turns his head just so. Major? I think he might have had a growth spurt thanks to all the running and jumping he has been doing. And you know what? The boy can ride his bike like a pro. He went 4 miles today with his father and grandfather!
But there is so much more. Two little boys sat in fancy restaurants this month and were so patient and so well behaved. They were polite and held conversation with family members. They were helpful and polite guests, using their manners without much prompting. They cleaned up plates, they (sometimes) made beds. I’m most impressed by how hard they’ve tried to learn the rules/norms of the places we have visited. I am amazed by their flexibility. While we’ve been here, they’ve gotten up every day ready for the next adventure. I’m so proud of them, Dear Reader. I’m so surprised by them.
And so now we gear up to return. Home beckons. Well, Massachusetts beckons. The house beckons. The garden beckons. It’s time to get back and rejoin. There is a lot to look forward to. There is a lot that must be done.
The first big thing that I’m looking forward to? The Husband painted the kitchen while we were gone. He refuses to show me a picture of the finished product. He wants me to be surprised when I walk through the door. So, well… my surprise will be your surprise, Dear Reader! Now, I know the colors that were put up, so that won’t be the surprise. But how it all looks together?? We’ll see! I’ll take pictures and share on Monday so you will be surprised, too! Wait until you see the embroidery I am going to do for the window treatments!
It is a hot Friday here in Maryland. Hot, I say! Next year, I’m making time for the beach. I’ve got to get back to the Outer Banks. And this year… I don’t know. I’m going to make a day trip to the beach before summer ends. Anyway, it’s a hot night. A clear one. With lightning bugs dancing just outside the windows. It’s a night for not moving. It’s a night for breathing slowly. It’s a night for sleeping.
Even on hot nights, I have wishes for you, Dear Reader. I wish you cold things: ice cream, beer, gazpacho, noodles, salad… a little bit of crisp, a little bit of bite, a little bit of citrus, a little bit of chill. Share these things with low-key friends… those good friends who don’t need much to be content, but who are still a lot of fun. The kinds of friends who tell good stories. The ones who love you and have known you forever. I wish you good air conditioning, cold wine, and good jazz. I wish you good reading and great podcasts. Have you listened to Levar Burton Reads yet? This week’s was really good. I wish you a grassy hill and a friendly breeze, a person to share a blanket with and a little bit of time to enjoy the intimacy of silent presence. Sometimes the contented sigh of a favorite person can be a sublime as a song, Dear Reader. I wish you a held hand, a kiss on your forehead, a time to look in someone else’s eyes. See someone, fully and deeply, this weekend, Dear Reader. Be present for someone’s infinite beauty and affirm it for them. Remember that seeing the infinite beauty of someone else, loved one or stranger alike, is a confirmation of the beauty that exists within yourself. You are, without a doubt, profoundly beautiful. What you do in this world matters. You do great things for the people in your life. You are admired and loved, near and far, in ways that you know and ways that you can never know. So walk with strength and light this weekend, Dear Reader. Be the friendly cool breeze for someone. You never know how much your presence and kindness will mean to them.
As ever, I’m grateful for your presence here. Thank you for your care and for your time. Thank you for the light and inspiration you bring to this little blog, Dear Reader. It means a lot to me.
Until Monday, stay cool, reach out, sing loudly, dance merrily, speak truthfully and take care.