Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Vacationing in July

When we first got home there were a lot of things happening that were good for my soul.  One of them was a trip in the middle of July to visit my family and to vacation in a place I've gone for my entire existence.

I love Northern Michigan.  I think I've mentioned it before, but I've even had friends say I should start a campaign for the entire state of Michigan because I love it so much.  While in Northern Ireland, whenever we were asked where our favorite place on the planet was, or a place of peacefulness, I would mention Michigan.  (Which 90% of the people I met thought was the funniest thing I'd ever said."  For various reasons I associate that part of the country with vacation. rest. peacefulness. and God.  I just feel closer to everything when I'm there.  And it felt like the perfect place to spend time with my family as I set my feet on solid ground.

And perhaps the very best part, above the delicious food, and the coolness of the lake....the VERY BEST part was that I got to meet my nephew Xavier for the first time ever in his life. 
But even besides that, this place alone holds so much for me.  Spending two weeks a summer up here for almost my entire childhood, and then two full summers on staff.  It's where I learned to make oatmeal cake bread, and where I worked next to my grandmother - getting to know her in a whole new way.

This is the type of place where you drive up to the wooded cabins along a shaded winding road, and you just know in your gut that you can finally take deep breaths. 

You know there are people waiting for you that love you, and the place is filled with people who want to know more about your adventures since you saw them last.  And people you've known your whole life that are having adventures you want to hear all about as well.

And the soft sounds of boats and jet skis taking off into the distance.  People offering you and your kids rides just because they know it would make them absolutely happy.

And grandparents that will go on adventures with us, and will fill our days with experiences. 
And cousins - many cousins -1st, and 2nd, that we haven't seen in so long, or never at all.  My own aunts and uncles that fill the cabins of this place and never hesitate to act happy to see me.
Visiting my own grandparents' cabin with its permanent fixtures of someone sitting out on the porch, a snack being passed around, and a jigsaw puzzle on the table.
An expanse of land to run around on, with streams to explore, and sand to be sculpted. 

And the beach.  Oh my, that beach.
And a "sea" we can swim in.
A magical part of my childhood that I can finally give my children.

And now for the honesty: I loved our vacation (of course), but it wasn't all warm fuzzy puppies.  Something about the set-up of the place we go reminded the boys so much of Corrymeela (everyone living on-sight, eating in a big dining room, etc.) that Miles and Liam had some moments of difficulty.  By "moments of difficulty" I of course mean, throw-down full-on scream-so-every-person-in-the-neighboring-four-states-can-hear-you difficulty.  And when Dustin had to leave at the beginning of the week for work, I think I also struggled to parent them completely.  Part of me just shut down, whether it was from a lingering sadness that was still fresh, or from having my parents around to take care of my broken heart, or because I thought I should get a vacation since we were on vacation.

I don't know why I thought I should share that part.  I guess I wanted you to know that things that look fun, and beautiful, also have hard, rough, hidden parts as well.  I will remember our vacation as fun and beautiful, but I want a tiny part of my brain to remember that it was also hard, so that when my children say (20+ years from now), "Mom, this is really damn hard."  I can say, "I know baby."

And maybe I'll even throw in a little, "Payback." for good measure.