Summer 2014

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I’m starting to realize that the reason cliches are cliches is because they’re often true.  Maybe not all, but certainly some.  And the adage that summer goes faster every year?  Oh, yes.  My, that one is true.  And it’s just so bittersweet; so bitter because it IS so sweet.

I’ve been reflecting on what this summer contained and on what it was.

Right after school ended, the four of us spent a weekend in New Hampshire.  This was a very successful example of taking an important family tradition and morphing it to adapt to our growing children.  Instead of going to Story Land during the week with just Grace and Whit, the four of us went ziplining over a weekend.  We stayed at the same hotel, ate at the same restaurant that we loved, visited the same water park.  The weekend was both familiar and new, and it was absolutely marvelous.  The kids loved the adventure and I was so happy to mark the end of a school year with a joyful celebration.

We spent a long weekend with my sister and her family at my parent’s house on the Massachusetts shore.  As always, there was noise and tumult and many, many special memories.  It poured on the 4th of July.  And it cleared into a lovely weekend.  We saw fireworks, we swam in the rain, we went to the movies, we tried to take a Christmas card photo of the 4 grandchildren, we had family dinners around the large oval table, we watched my mother blow out birthday candles.  I love this tradition.

Our hydrangea bush had very few flowers.  We’re chalking it up to the long, cold winter in Boston.  As usual, I can’t stop seeing metaphors everywhere – with the hydrangeas and in general.  The bush is not flowering very much because it is bruised or wounded from a difficult winter.  Hopefully it will heal and burst into bloom next year.

This year our children were away from us more than ever before.  They spent 2 weeks at my parents’ house – a magical interlude with freedom to bike wherever they wanted, a happy and calm camp experience, new neighborhood friends, and lots of downtime with their grandparents – and then 3.5 weeks at camp.  I missed them like a howling ache.  But that’s not why I cried, after dropping them off and sporadically when they were gone.  I cried because at this point I realize the future is studded with more and more goodbyes.  The red cord that ties our hearts is going to keep stretching.  Yes, I trust it.  But I also find it difficult and sad.

Grace, Whit and I went to Niagara Falls for a few days.  I have never been there, and they were excited to see it.  It was just a little adventure and an opportunity to be away, together.  Niagara was home to some of the most staggeringly beautiful natural vistas I’ve ever seen and some of the the least attractive man-made ones.  Fascinating, paradoxical, enchanting.

I had a passionate love affair with peaches.  I can’t explain it.  I learned how to make jam (peach, of course).  I even made pickles.  Just call me Ma Ingalls.

Grace and Whit went away to camp for 3.5 weeks.  They went to the same camp that I went to as a child, a place that remains crucially important to me.  In a childhood of moving around, where I always felt like the new kid or the one about to leave, it was the only place I was just normal.  I treasure their camp, and to watch them love it is a remarkable thing.  I spent the last night of my 30s there, with them, celebrating the close of another wonderful summer.  It was truly magical.

We spent a week on Lake Champlain at the end of the summer.  This has become such an important marker in the summer for me: it’s a way to retain a connection to Vermont, the state where Matt grew up, and a way to reconnect as a family after the children have been away at camp.  They love it there and so do we.

I took August off from this blog for the first time, I read a lot of books, I felt particularly introspective, and I turned 40.

For the last several years I have written a post like this reflecting on the summer that was.  The others are here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.


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14 Comments

  1. Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Welcome back! Your post was calming to me with the ease of beautiful things. While summer was still a bit crazy here- I feel that Fall is closing in on my with even quicker steps taking hold of schedules. Trying to hold on to all of it while watching the minutes fly and feet grow. xo

    admin Reply:

    I love that sentence, “the ease of beautiful things.” Certainly one good way to describe what I aspire to. xoxo

  2. Nadine
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    An updated reading list!!! Love, love, love 🙂
    Hope Fall will be as happy and full as Summer was…

    admin Reply:

    What are you reading? xo

  3. Kathy
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Hydrangeas didn’t bloom on Long Island either! Topic of conversation last night at the annual end of the summer crabfest! The summer flew by. We started off with our annual camping trip to sleep on our local beach. 1st week of August our week was spent in Montauk on the beach. A tradition that has grown in days and amount of families who join in. 12 years in a row! And we ended the summer at Jones Beach Theater watching Zach Brown Band jam for 2 + hours….unbelievable night!
    My kids are 21 and 23 now, but they enjoy these trips as much as we do!
    The other days I work full time. I read only 3 books! Not much time for the hazy slow days of summer.

    admin Reply:

    I love hearing about traditions growing and enduring. I find that reassuring! And here’s to hydrangeas all around in 15 …

  4. Laurie
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I followed you on Instagram and Twitter during August, but am so glad to have you and your words back on the blog.
    Having just dropped my only daughter back at college and having only seen her for two short weeks over the summer due to an excellent summer internship, your writing captures much of what I feel even though we are at different points in our parenting.
    There are many more goodbyes as they grow older, and while I know she will always be my little girl, and am incredibly proud of the woman she is becoming, I still at times walk around the house feeling a tremendous ache at my loss. And I wanted you to know that your writing eases that ache.
    Thanks for sharing.

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so much for saying this. I can’t tell you how moving it is to read what you say. I appreciate it. I feel that loss looming, already, even though it’s still years away. But I dread and fear it. But at the same time, I admit, I have the occasional frisson of excitement about who she (and he) is becoming and getting to know the young adults they are rapidly growing into. xox

  5. Posted September 1, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Delightful summer! xo

    admin Reply:

    It was! xoxo

  6. Kathryn
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Two words: peach pickles??? Two more: LOVE you! Xoxo

    admin Reply:

    No, no, no … peach jam AND pickles! Though you make wonder what peach pickles WOULD be like …!

  7. Posted September 2, 2014 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    I love that you are back! And what a wonderful summer you had. Your trips sound so lovely and relaxing. And yes- I too am feeling the pull of greater goodbyes. Caroline starts middle school on Thursday and a whole new chapter begins…

    admin Reply:

    here’s to whole new chapters all around … xox

  8. Posted September 2, 2014 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Oh I just want to curl up in your summer. Is that ok? This is so lovely. I wrote a different kind of reflecting on summer post today. I don’t know why the end of summer makes me reflect but it does. My two are still small but I look forward to morphing our traditions as they grow as you have.

    admin Reply:

    That’s more than okay. Come on in! The end of summer makes me melancholy too. xox

  9. Gale
    Posted September 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I remember when you turned 35. I’d just started reading your blog and you seemed so mature and knowledgable to me. I was 31 at the time. Am now I’m just weeks away from 37 (two years older than you were when I first clicked over) and hardly see myself as the wise, sage person that you seemed to me back then. And yet to some 31-year-old perahps I am. I know that everything is relative, but sometimes I sense it more acutely than others. At any rate, I hope you had a wonderful birthday. And welcome back!

    admin Reply:

    Oh, this is so nice to hear but I have to say I am certain I am neither wise nor sage. I assure you. Isn’t it amazing how fast it all flies, though. xox

  10. Posted September 2, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I missed your writing in August, Lindsey! I’m glad to see you back.
    And of course, I love to hear about your traditions. Especially how they are morphing as the children get older. You’re a few steps ahead of me, so I love the glimpse into what our days might have in store for us as we leave the “little kid” stuff behind….

  11. Posted September 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Glad you are back and full of tidbits of your summer. It sounds like everything summer should be.

    I, too, felt the need to pull back a bit this summer. Each summer seems like a flash of lightning and a quick downpour. I’m hoping for a slow drizzle next year. 🙂

  12. Posted September 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad you are back! It sounds like a wonderful summer.

  13. Amy
    Posted September 3, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    How I missed your blog! Welcome back. So glad you had a relaxing summer.

  14. Posted September 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    What a busy, fun summer! I think it’s awesome you took a blogging break, and look– we are all still here. 😉