I am already nostalgic for those early weeks of camp, for June, for when summer was brand new and unfurled in front of us, shimmering.
Early in those mornings, I drove Whit to meet the bus to hockey camp. We were always early. Two weeks is plenty of time for a tradition to develop: he clambered into the front seat, scanned the radio for a song he likes, and talked.
Then, as soon as I got home, I woke Grace up before the camp she had to go to. Every single morning she was longer, leaner, browner. I forgot to put sunscreen on her the first two days of soccer camp, which was outside, (terrible mother alert!) and she is now savagely tan. She surely doesn’t have my skin.
One late-June evening we had a family picnic at a nearby park. Then Grace and Whit went to play on the playground and I watched them, feeling grateful again that they still play on playgrounds, that they (sometimes) enjoy each others’ company, that it was still light at 7:30 in the evening, that we live – and I was able to be – here, now.
Now we are into July, new camps, new routines, new rhythms. My favorite season is running through my fingers even as I grasp at it, and I feel real sorrow about that. I’m trying to brush it away to enjoy these months of late light and relaxed schedules, and sometimes I succeed.
When I realized, late, that Grace needed closed-toe shoes to sail at camp, she tried on an old pair of Sperrys of mine. And, while still slightly big, they worked. What?????
We’ve been playing a lot of family tennis. We can play a real doubles game, and last weekend Matt and Grace played a set of singles. He beat her. 6-1. But still: she took a game. I’m pretty sure she could beat me. Every time we go to the charming tennis club near my parents’ house I think of our rehearsal dinner, celebrated here on a perfect evening in September 2000.
We went for a late afternoon sail with my parents and picked up a mooring in a harbor across the bay. We were next to a boat that my father grew up admiring. Grace and Whit jumped off the boat into the cold water. We sailed home in the swollen late-day sunshine. We had dinner at the mooring and then took the launch home, the very boat that Matt and I left our wedding reception on so many years ago.
Past and present collided, my mother and my daughter at the helm sailing across the waters we all know so well, the spot where Matt and I celebrated our rehearsal and our wedding, my shoes, the outrageous light of a midsummer evening.
Life is a benediction and an elegy all at once, every day.
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