Perspective Shift

August 12, 2008 by Ellen Stimson in Living With Intention, New England, Summertime

This was not the summer I’d planned to have.

I fantasied about unscheduled weekends and meandering drives between farmer’s markets. I planned to fill a basket every morning with stuff from the garden and pick new recipes to try on sunny weekend afternoons with my daughter as we giggled and sunbathed on the balcony. It was the last summer post homeschooling and pre regular school for our twelve year old and I imagined reading some old fashioned boy adventure stories together curled up in the cool screen porch on balmy summer nights. It might have been the last summer with our twenty three year old at home since he has only one college semester left and a life of his own looming on some near horizon. We would drink coffee at the river and talk about how to build a life that matters.

Turns out that the two big ones are having a beachy summer. They have a shared job and apartment on the vineyard. So I spend mornings hearing about Sunday nights at Menemsha with a hot bluegrass band, under a cold beach wind, and a harbor master who passes out oysters and offers a couple of good plain sauces on an old rickety card table. They are learning about beach barbecues with fish instead of hot dogs and clam bakes that take days to prepare. And I hear about it all secondhand sometimes during, usually right after, whatever new event. My girl has always been chatty and free minutes keep the conversations flowing.

The 23 year old is loving the job and finding his rhythm making money and fun with a bunch of happy sandy unruly little boys. I get the same quick staccato reports I always have and in between I referee their squabbles.

The twelve year old discovered Facebook and he and his new school pals are teaching each other and posting pictures and messages with all the thrill of discovery. We had a party with his new class and that was the last I saw of him. In between these Internet escapades he runs outside with his best pal and they seem to gobble up the air worrying as they do about the change Eli’s new school is sure to bring to their sweet time together. Eli is going to middle school at a little country private school while his best friend goes to the village school. Eli wanted a bigger social circle but now there is a threat to what has always been and so he and Timmy run faster and play harder. Plus now he has all this summer reading which effectively messes up the whole adventure reading plan.

A business project delay finds me racing around bidding on new projects and my heart is beating a little faster again. I haven’t even been able to figure out how to drive down to the Vineyard to let Eli hang out a bit with the big kids. John is racing too, bidding on his own projects and planning the coaching schedule which he has just added to his fall routine.

And it is raining buckets. The VT weather guys said that this July recorded more rain than any July since 1800.

This is not the summer I wanted, but it is the one I have so I better quick figure out how to want the one I’ve got. I am going to the bookstore with Eli tonight and we are going to pick out something that thrills us damnit. I can read it to him at night under the covers and then it won’t seem like more on top of, but instead something sweet on the side. I am going to take him down to the Vineyard this weekend because soccer practice and school are just right around the corner. This is his only thirteenth summer…(Geez he really will be thirteen this winter. Thirteen, gasp, a teenager!) and we won’t remember the worries in ten years, but I’ll bet he will always remember hanging out on the beach with his brother and sister and no adults to bring up pesky details like bed at 2AM. Come to think of it this is my only 46th summer too. I think I will just stay over until Monday and go to one of those bluegrass concerts on Menemsha on Sunday night too. Why not? Staying here to worry will not help, but an oyster next to the sea, under a blanket with maybe a thermos of something steamy just might. You don’t always get what you want, but I do know that you can figure out how to want what you have. I’ve got to go and check those ferry schedules….


  • library lady

    Live it up–have more than one oyster and enjoy your beach blanket blues! It sure beats sitting around waiting to see whose head will roll next at the good old library. We’d even be happy for a little rain!

  • painted maypole

    oh, i can’t wait to hear about your weekend at the beach.

    you’ve got a great attitude!

    by the way, have I ever told you that I love your webdesign?

  • katiedid

    Take a swimming suit and a dress and wear the same thing all weekend long. Relax. Eat ice cream. Drink beer. Go slow…..

  • Jennifer

    Want what you have, want what you have…

    It’s a mantra I try to live by. Not always easy, but so freeing, when I can get it to work. And you, friend, seem to have knack for getting it to work for you.

    I left a note for you over at my place. Your comment to me there took my breath away. Thank you.

  • Susiewearsthepants

    I always love your writing. Have I said that before? Anyway, it’s so colorful and descriptive I can see whatever you are describing in my mind’s eye, and I want to run out do whatever you are describing right away.

  • Casdok

    No worrying dosnt help as well we know, but at times its hard not to.
    Its raining buckets here too!

  • bobbie

    That’s the best philosophy I’ve heard – If you don’t get what you want, learn to want what you get. Can’t beat that one.

  • jamie

    E–I am loving NYC. We were in Soho this afternoon, and you are right–it’s a very cool neighborhood. We are going to be ferrying around tonight and hanging out with a bottle of wine in our fingertips.

    I think you’re right. You have to want what you have–what’s the point otherwise? I hope your weekend at the vineyard is amazing. I must go get ready, the hours slip away far to quickly, especially on an adventure such as this…

    Enjoy the weekend.

  • Bia

    That’s a good lesson to teach my boys: learning how to want the things you have. Very wise.

  • molls

    God I am so sick of this rain too. I think it is actually killing me. I am dying. I need a beach to tun away too, or an alley even …just please God somewhere dry

  • nellie

    Firs rain then snow. I think I am going to move

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