Two of the happiest words in our language have to be school’s out. (Okay so maybe the contraction makes those technically three but you get the drift) When placed together in a sentence they invariably bring smiles. This year I am relishing them more than ever.
Our youngest is sixteen and just finished his sophomore year in high school. How many more summers will we all get together? It wasn’t that long ago that I wondered how many more we would get with the big kids and that answer came fast too. Not many. Luckily for me they still come back.
Tomorrow we will head to the place we love best in summer a little house on a pristine pond on Martha’s Vineyard. The house is nothing much hidden in the woods like the rest of the hand-full of houses on the pond. But the pond-the pond is one of my favorite places on earth. The water is clear and it feels creamy on your skin. Creamy. I swear. Surrounded by a piney wood, it smells divine too. There are loons of course who make the early morning coffee out on the porch one of the best parts of my life all year long. And along the shoreline, here and there in the very tallest pine trees, are the giant sized nests of the ospreys. They always have babies and throughout the day you can watch them flying back and forth dipping into the pond catching little fish and feeding their babies. It is a pleasure I never tire or having.
Eli’s Vineyard experience has changed the most over the years. We started coming when he was little and we would spend hours at Lighthouse Beach catching crabs off long sticks baited with squid or raw chicken. One year he caught a shark. We spent thousands of hours on that little beach. The crabs were probably mighty glad to see him grow up. Now he brings a rotation of teenage boys who will leave wet trunks hanging by the outside shower, over the deck and seemingly on the door knobs of every door. There will also be piles of wet sandy towels outside every entrance. The back screen door slams like screen doors everywhere and it bangs a few times every day when the boys head down to the canoe or swim out to the floating dock to dive and do all their teenage showoffy jumps.
All of us will gather on the island around the 4th. Hannah and Dan and Benjamin and Olive will be with us–swimming in the pond, watching the parade and the fireworks, eating piles of lobster and feeling full and happy. Those times are especially sweet and what I think back to when January rolls around. Sunday nights we will head up to Menemsha for bluegrass and lobster. And Jaws…a least once. It wouldn’t be summer without Jaws.
I love our island time. I love it when we are all together. I am ever grateful that these grown-up people we are related to still seem to like hanging out with us. Every morning we wander toward the coffee pot where some new project or idea will inevitably get launched and another year will be reviewed and plans will get made. It happens on sun drenched afternoons in sand and surf. It happens on long pond swims and over happy butter laden lobster. But it always happens. Pretty soon one or the other of them will get married and eventually there will be new little kids added into our mix. I hope I get to be here for all of it for a long long time. Cause it’s summer. Let the screen doors slam