This blog is a pretty happy place. On Mondays especially I like to write about what I like best about traveling with kids – the anticipation of a new place or the delight of remembering a cherished journey or location.
But there has been terrible and irreparable loss in my family in the past year, and never have I been more aware of it than during the past few weeks. Although I am once again in Vermont, as I have been more summers than not for the past three decades, it’s not the same for me and never will be again. The bustling restaurant kitchen my father presided over is dark and silent. I can no longer count on watching him snare the best produce at the farmer’s market or ask him his favorite uses for those giant fresh purple shallots that gleam so temptingly. He isn’t there to take Tommy kayaking or to teach classes in Indian cooking. His absence still leaves us shaking our heads, wondering when he will reappear as surely he must.
We solider on, all of us, because really, what else can you do? Summer’s myriad pleasures are here for the taking, and take we do. But it is always with the awareness that something is missing and that the pleasure is not whole or perfect as it might be.
And yet. There is still the comfort of a beautiful place that I know and love and that my children now know and love equally as well. It makes me realize that as much as exploring a new place together gives me joy, sometimes what I need is a return to the familiar. The same river. The same rocks. The same August sun dappling the water.
So today I’m dreaming of the simplest of all childhood summertime pleasures, untainted by sadness or longing.
Learning to skip a rock.