Saturday, September 04, 2010

Gold in the air

My family has always rented a house on the beach in the last weeks of August, and, recently, the first week of September. Which leaves all of us, essentially, counting the days until summer ends.

This most recent Maine session was especially poignant for me since we've been living in France and missed last summer's beach session. On the drive from Vermont to Maine, I found myself getting overly nostalgic several times.

The whole trip, including stopping at a diner for pancakes, was like a surreal cruise down memory lane.  (I could hear Carly Simon's Anticipation playing in the background when we ordered breakfast.)

In two different towns, I saw girls in sweat pants carrying field hockey sticks, walking through the late- August morning light on their way to practice.

I passed through the town where I spent my Freshman year at college, before transferring back to a Vermont state college. I tried hard to remember what compelled me, other than my first love, who was back in Vermont,  to choose young love over access to the Atlantic.

I don't regret the boyfriend. He was everything a first love should be, and more. But, in perfectly-lucid hindsight, I should have made the boy come to me. (Just one of the many ways I habitually put my needs second.) I can only hope my daughters will be wiser in love than I was.

When the big bridge that crosses the bay in Portsmouth came into view and I-- exactly as my father always did when we five, carsick children were all crammed into the car amongst the suitcases and styrofoam coolers-- grandly announced that we were crossing the border into Maine. But I couldn't get through my sentence. I was choking on something.

It was gratitude. A deluge of gratitude. How lucky I was to be sharing this all with my kids. The exact same experience, right down to the ceremonial crossing of the bridge, minus the overstuffed car and the smoking father, that I lived as a child.

How lucky I am. How lucky we are. How lucky.

How lucky.

Click here for more of the story. 


Emma said...

How lovely! I would love to take my kids back to the seaside village i spent my summer holidays in as a child, but alas, it has become a 'trendy' place to stay, as opposed to the tiny, isolated fishing village it used to be, and no comes with a trendy price tag. Have a wonderful time.

Joy said...

It looks like they are having a perfectly blissful time. I'm so glad you've been able to enjoy your family so much, Betsy.

Janet D said...

Oh Betsy, you are so right! How wonderful it is to be able to share our favorite childhood traditions and experiences with our children, with the hopes that they will become such very special memories and traditions for them as well!
LOVE these beach pics (and ALL of the pics from your trip). Nostalgia, nostalgia, SIGH......
You hit the nail right smack on the head yet again .. how LUCKY we are overall .. how very lucky indeed! Great reflecions, as usual!! :)

cbs111 said...

I agree, we, who are able to be with our children and building memories are so blessed. I find myself choked up frequently by my own tmes with my children.

Seamingly Sarah said...

How wonderfully you express yourself with the written word. I hope to feel some of the things you write about someday. I feel so new to motherhood. My 2nd is on the way and I don't feel the deep rooted traditions with my family yet. At the same time I'm reveling in the newness and how each moment is a possible new tradition and memory to be cherished some day down the road.

Betsy said...

I must add, the luckiest part is the part where my mom and dad pay for the rental house. None of us adult children has reached any sort or financial status that allows a rented beach house. A house down the road from the beach, maybe, but not right on it. And that really makes all the difference. Spoiled rotten? You betcha.

andrea frazer said...

I totally understand how lucky this feels. I would love to go home right now. Sadly, my childhood home is not what it used to be. I'm attempting to remodel it, but I don't know if it will ever get back to the way it was when I was a kid. But if it doesn't, then I'll just have to accept and grow, keeping it inside my memories. But I don't wanna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good for you for having this experience!

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

I'm here, catching up on your last month of posts, taking a little time for ME and what brings me joy: reading others' stories. :)

I really said "Ahhhhh!" out loud to these photos. Spectacular stuff, and I really wish I could experience something like those photos right now! :) Beautiful stuff. I am so glad you could make these memories.

*onward to read the other posts*