Summer 2011

As I thought back over the summer of 2011, I revisited my reflections on the summer of 2010 and on the summer of 2009.  As usual, I was struck by the simultaneous sense that those months were decades ago and just yesterday.  This was a rich and happy summer, though marbled with the melancholy that I now know is an inextricable part of my life.

The beginning of summer, with its trip to Princeton reunions and half marathon, feels like a distant memory.  June rained and rained and rained, and then the sun finally came out for our week in Marion with Hilary and her girls.  Matt’s parents sold the house he grew up in, and officially are no longer Vermont residents.  This was bittersweet for all.

The fourth of July held its usual fireworks and small-town parade, with the extra bonus of getting to spend it with our cousins.

My mother injured herself and spent a lot of July and August recuperating, which was unexpected.  Her indomitable spirit prevailed, though, and she impressed every single person she encountered with her positive attitude.  I acquainted myself in a new way with the middle place, never more than one night when my daughter cried to me that I wasn’t spending enough time with her because I was with my own mother too much.  I anticipate this getting more tender, and more frayed, as I move forward, not less.

July included a wonderful visit to dear friends on Martha’s Vineyard, our annual overnight hike in the White Mountains, a rainbow cake, and swimming, sunsets, and star-gazing.

Grace went to my beloved former summer camp for 10 days, which began in tears (because she didn’t want me to go) and also ended in them (because she didn’t want to leave camp).

Whit went to Nature Camp and adored it.  It was without a doubt his favorite camp of the summer.  The kids wore name tags made out of rounds of wood and spent their days “ponding” and “bugging” (the latter sounds particularly charming to me).  He couldn’t get enough.  Unfortunately this camp was an hour away in each direction, so for each of the three days he went I spent four hours in the car.

Grace is an outstanding swimmer- we’re talking laps of butterfly, flip turns, etc.  She’s much better than I am.  I have no idea where this came from.  She refuses, however, to think about joining a swim team.  I suspect that my lack of interest in competition of the sporting kind has lived through another generation, for better or for worse.  Probably worse.

I read lots of stuff, but the books that moved me the most were Falling Apart in One Piece and Just Kids.  I also went through (and am still in) an enormous Stanley Kunitz phase.  Wow.  He says, “I dream of an art so transparent that you can look through and see the world” and I nod and cry at the same time.

I participated in Susannah Conway’s August Break, sharing photographs instead of words.  It was a lovely change of pace.

We went back to Legoland and it was every bit as wonderful as last year.  Different, of course, but equally special, joyful, and memorable.

One of my college roommates celebrated her wedding over Labor Day.  We did a bridesmaid flash mob dance (a youtube training video before the weekend, a rehearsal over the weekend, etc) and shocked and delighted the bride, who is an avid and excellent dancer.  It was so much fun!  The weekend was an extraordinary celebration with women who’ve meant the world to me for almost 20 years.  It was also an important reminder for me of where I came from and of who I am.

I think I finally started flossing.  For real!  I know.  How tragic that this merits inclusion here.  But it does.  I also experimented with a week-long cleanse (without dairy, sugar, gluten, refined anything, meat, soy, caffeine, alcohol) which surprised me, frankly, by being hugely informational and profoundly empowering.  I’m not going to live without some of those things, but I suspect I’d feel a lot better if I cut back on others of them.

I took Grace and Whit for a final summer adventure to the beach north of Boston last week, and we had an entirely magical day together.  It was intensely bittersweet, but I’m so glad we did it.

Another season turned to its end.  On Monday night, the night before the first day of school, Whit cried at bedtime.  He told me he doesn’t want to get older, doesn’t want to stop being 6, doesn’t want to go into 1st grade.  How to respond to this, so vivid a reminder of my own rawest and deepest wound?  I don’t know.  I just hugged him, kissed his forehead, told him I knew and I loved him, that that I believed it would keep getting better.  Then he pulled on his favorite red sweatband and went to bed.


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11 Comments

  1. Posted September 8, 2011 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    what a rich, vibrant, love-filled summer, albeit bittersweet at times. what a season, bursting with the simple, sacred joys of life. lovely.

  2. Posted September 8, 2011 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The Days of Our Lives..

    I’m so glad you wrote this out, including (as always and a great thing) your reflections. It’s so good, isn’t it? This looking back and seeing where we have been and how that might inform where we go? Or not…

    So beautiful. Thanks, Lindsey.

    XOXO

  3. Posted September 8, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “He told me he doesn’t want to get older, doesn’t want to stop being 6, doesn’t want to go into 1st grade.” — William told me the exact same thing two nights ago, the night before his first day of 1st grade! Did we do this to them, or did our sensitive little boys just come that way??

  4. Posted September 8, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful evocation of summer’s lovely moments — a whole photo album in words, captured memories, evanescent images. Life is fleeting, that’s the joy and the pain of it, as you always manage to express. So glad that you are back. xxox

  5. Posted September 8, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    What a full, rich summer! When my own first grader wept bitterly about wishing to go back in time and return to preschool (where her sister starts this year), I wanted to join her. Growing up is not simple. Being a kid is amazingly hard work! I always wanted to press forward, trying to catch up with my big sister and never thought it would be better younger.

  6. Posted September 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Lindsey, how I missed you! I love this idea of recapping summer. I may copy it if I ever, I mean, when I am able to get back to the computer.

    My son, always happy, ran into school on the first day with his backpack and lunchbox and the teacher questionnaire. As he ran in, I called to him, “Don’t forget to give that to Ms. Larson.” He stopped in his tracks, turned around and said, “Who’s Ms. Larson?” I said laughing, knowing his propensity to forget details, “Your teacher.” He took his backpack off, took the letter out and handed it to me and said, “You give it to her. I don’t know her.”
    He was headed back to his beloved second grade teacher. I reminded him he was going to a new teacher, and he nodded his head and turned towards the third grade classrooms. Although he isn’t as expressive as Whit, I can’t help but wonder if he, too, has a similar longing for things to stay as they are.

  7. Posted September 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    May I just say how much I love your blog? I could just curl up here and read it like a book. Which I do. It’s probably because I relate on just about every level, but more importantly, it’s because your prose is beautiful and poignant. So nice catching up on your summer.

  8. Connie
    Posted September 9, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Wait… I missed something… Matt’s parents moved??? Where are they now? Perhaps just in time given the hurricane, but sad nonetheless.

  9. Posted September 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Your story about Whit really brought a tear to my eye. Beautifully written!

  10. Posted September 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I am reading Falling Apart In One Piece based on your review. I haven’t finished because the emotion is so deep and raw and moving. Thank you for that.

    I too have one of those children who does not want to get older. Mine was four when he cried, endless nights waking up to crying. Heartbreaking. But now he’s 12 (13 in a few days really) and he hasn’t looked back. But he is a kind, gentle soul (with an anger flair every once in awhile). Such a nice thing to have a child that wants to be yours forever.

  11. Posted September 10, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I am so glad to read that you have started to floss,& that your mother is on the mend. Looking back, year 6 was a good one, my first crush and first kiss & first stalker girfriend.
    OH, to be 6 again.

    Always, Bumby