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The Lake is Growing Up

With a few years of lake visits under our belts, Steve and I have started talking about how we feel about having a vacation home of our own. We both love our home in Monterey Park with our friends nearby, good schools and its proximity to Steve’s work. But seeing how Junior and Daisy have matured each summer at the lake is very easy to spot from year to year as they improve their swimming, fishing and fire-building skills. Every year, some small change that I didn’t notice at home seems very obvious at the lake. The little muscles on their arms and legs impressed me this time. Junior’s maturity in difficult circumstances was news; even Daisy was more proactive in helping Steve make a fire. Previously, she would have sat back nervously and moved forward only with an adult close to her. My children are shedding their “little kidness.” What would this mean to me and Steve?

When the children were really babies, it seemed like all my time was tied up with caring for them. Their safety and needs always came first. I can remember after Junior was born, I didn’t change out of my nightgown for a few days because I was afraid not be right there for him if he needed me. Now, on the rare occasions when he bellows out for me, I sometimes tell him to lower his voice; I need to stop that.

I like the tradition of our lake trips. What started out as a great perk from Steve’s boss,Buck, has allowed us as a family to make great memories together. My intention with this trip was to actively make memories for all of us. Pictures of all of us, little mementos of our activities, even some little stories will help me keep these treasures as we all grow up. Even Steve and I have fallen into our own lake rhythm and the rush of the work days disappeared. I wanted the days to be less structured this time to allow for new opportunities to just pop up. But it would be okay for nothing to happen also.

On our last night, we had a long, funny diner with multiple courses and lots of celebrating. Earlier this week, I gave everyone blue construction paper ribbons to make for each other as awards. I instructed the children on the procedures in toast-making and brought out cold sparkling cider for us to read our toasts to each other. I wish I had thought to record it, but took pictures instead. Next year, I am going to bring a tape recorder.

The morning we left, Steve walked us all down to the dock where we all sat down together quietly. He had made coffee for himself and me and hot chocolate for the kids. We watched the morning birds, bugs and fish in the water. The sun was up but not high enough to be hot and a light mist made the water sparkle. At one point, a giant crane flew past us with a fish in its mouth and we all made sounds of awe. We were a family all experiencing a moment in time. That memory will be ingrained. After a while, we said our sad goodbyes to the lake but Daisy brought the smile back to our faces when she added, “See you next year.”

The trip home was unhurried and there was giggling and stories galore. I began to understand that as we talked, we were reinforcing our thoughts on what we will remember about this trip. As I focused on the faces of my happy family, their voices drifted away. Having our own place for vacations might become an option in the future, but anywhere were all went together in the future would result in amazing memories because we had figured that part out already.

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