I think how I manage to stay in love with New York- by spending a significant portion of my summers elsewhere; mainly up in Vermont at a lake house my grandparents built in the sixties (that is, in fact, where I am right now, which is why I'll keep this entry short and sweet, since, because there's no internet up here, I'm currently typing this on my smartphone).
It's a family affair up here- my parents, old friends, sisters and nieces. We eat well and often, build catapults (seriously), practice balancing on slacklines (yes, seriously), make sock puppets and lean-tos and swim and swim and swim. My grandparents built on beautiful waterfront and they were old school and preservationist about it- the house is high up off the water so as to be camouflaged behind a copse of cedars, and they didn't believe in docks or trampolines or waterslides, much to my chagrin as a child (although I can appreciate the natural beauty now). But in recent years, as this has become an important place for the next generation, we began the conversation about putting in a floating dock we could swim to, and sun on, and practice jumping off of.
Still, we were under the impression that this was just a conversation. Well, at least most of us were- my parents, however, had other ideas. Unbeknownst to the rest of us, when they came up here for their forty-third anniversary last month, instead of wining and dining each other, they put in a 64 square-foot floating dock by themselves.
This involved, among other things, rowing two 180-pound weights fifty feet off shore- my father kicked them off the back of the boat while my mother served as ballast; assembling the dock; towing it out to the anchors; and attaching it successfully so the whole thing didn't float away in the middle of the night.
My mother says the whole thing took 25 steps. She says she didn't mind being ballast. She says it was actually kind of fun. Romantic, even, in the Peace Corps, do-it-yourself way my parents have about them. She says they swam out to the dock afterwards and laughed because it seemed like a Viagra ad.
We are calling it the Bobble. Because it wobbles and bobs as the weather and waves wash over it, and because instead of buying her a bauble, my father bought my mother an adventure that smells of cedar and warms in the sun.
They are strong and sneaky and generous, my parents. I hope my husband and I can do something half as romantic for the kid and his family to admire and enjoy when we're entering our forty-fourth year, and that's what I thought about today as I swam my lap out and back, as the kid and my mom waited on shore.