Today we took the canoe out to Shark Rock. We had a picnic and went swimming and played super heroes (the kid was his newly invented hero, The Splash, and my husband and I were our usual go-tos, Hulk and Giant Girl). We watched a frog hopping and listened to a thrush and counted three perch just out of our reach. Then we made a tent out of towels over the middle of the canoe and the kid took a nap as we paddled home, after he spilled all the trail mix on the bottom of the canoe, before he had a hissy fit because it was (in his humble opinion) taking too long for us to deliver him to shore.
It's the last day of our vacation. I'm not complaining about any part of the five weeks of lakeside bliss we've enjoyed, but the truth is, we'll all be thrilled to sleep in our own beds tomorrow night. We miss our friends, our books, our Brooklyn. We're ready to go home.
But that doesn't mean we aren't really, really sad it's over. Even the kid is sad—one of the ways he's grown this summer is to become the kind of person who can actually comprehend what it means to say goodbye to the lake and a freedom to roam and endless hours of play. He grew a quarter of an inch in four days in July, and his mind has grown ten times that since June. In five weeks, he's developed a poop-centric sense of humor and core strength and a really mean doggy paddle.
But kids are growing all the time, aren't they? So perhaps the way he's changed in the last five weeks isn't all that remarkable- perhaps it's that I've had the patience, and energy and time to notice. My iPhone doesn't work up here. We don't have internet. There's no appointment to rush to or deadline to meet. I've just been here, with him, day in, day out, boring and loving and strict and soft as I am. And the kid, in turn, has been maddening and hysterical and kind and stubborn, and everything in between. He’s been him.
I suppose that's what vacation can (should?) be. The opportunity to know your family at its most elemental, day in, day out. To feel yourself unfurl in a beautiful place, so you can come back into who you really are, and journey home again. I hope I can remember that I can be this patient, and willing to read stories, and meet his rascally climbing-of-furniture with a smile, not a frown, in a week from now. I hope you get a taste of all of that- and more- this summer too.