A benediction and an elegy all at once

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.

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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.

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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?????

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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.

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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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12 Comments

  1. Posted July 2, 2014 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    I often wonder how different this parenting journey would be if we hadn’t left my familiar so that Rob could join his dad in work. He sees familiar landmarks from his youth daily but I do not. We are not close to my childhood home or the town where the girls were babies so I am not seeing all that you are seeing and it is still an amazing journey. How poignant to see your children on this backdrop of your youth. And the shoes! Caroline is now two sizes bigger than I am- how does this happen!?

  2. Posted July 2, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Beautiful. You took me there. Full circle.

  3. Posted July 2, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I want to grasp hold of this summer so hard as I know next summer will be filled with college preparations. But, alas, it is moving along quickly anyway. I think your summer sounds full of beauty and memories.
    And I guess one good thing about having huge feet is that my girls are never likely to fit in my shoes.

  4. Posted July 2, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Why is June so elusive and July so impatient? August just commits itself to sighing like a heavy tugboat when schedules go from overplanned to just necessary. I’m missing June with you already too.

  5. Posted July 2, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    I realized the other day, as I read a post about kids, summer, and wondering if she was getting it right, that as parents we are host and hostess of summer. Something about the perspective of a lavish, unforgettable visit makes the swiftness and bittersweetness of it all not hurt me.

    What a time you are giving them!

  6. Posted July 2, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    It sounds like your family is having a great summer, Lindsey! Summer is one of those seasons that feels so swift, yet lingering. Between the hustle and bustle of outdoor activities and soaking up the sun, it seems to slip by unnoticed. But the long days anchor it so well. I hope you’re taking this time to share stories of your childhood summers with your children. Enjoy all the new memories you’re making together!

  7. Posted July 2, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Lovely! This came at a great time for me – I really struggle with just slowing down and taking it all in. I try so hard to lose my agenda until losing my agenda becomes my agenda;) Thanks for the reminder just to LET. GO. (Beautiful photos, too!)

  8. Posted July 2, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I love that last sentence so much. Sort of encapsulates so much of what you capture on your blog in general.

  9. Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I’m right there with you…watching both my kids tower over me, growing and leaving and learning…life is so tenuous, so spectacular.

  10. Posted July 2, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Are you familiar with this quote, Lindsey? Just read it recently: “There would be nothing more obvious, more tangible, than the present moment. And yet it eludes us completely. All the sadness of life lies in that fact.” (Milan Kundera)

  11. Julie beck
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    You have captured a time and place so beautifully. It makes me nostalgic for summers in Maine with my kids who are mostly grown. Thanks also for leading me to William Stafford. I am really loving his work and was surprised to see that he taught at Lewis and Clark where my daughter went to college. I discovered your blog through girls gone child and am really enjoying your writing. Best to you and treasure these days! Julie Beck ’82 fellow PU grad

  12. Posted July 17, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    This is so true. Bittersweet but a necessary perspective.