Silver Bay & Maine

September 08, 2014 || I've got nostalgia on the mind. Or maybe just beneath the surface, where it lives more as a quickening of the heart rate and a feeling than something packaged into words. This summer my kids and I returned to upstate New York after three years away; last time Fran was there, she was inside my belly. Anyone who knows me well knows it's not just blood that runs through my veins, but the waters of Lake George and in particular, a little place called Silver Bay.

Alongside my mom, grandma and sister, I began vacationing here at age nine. We four Californians would travel back most summers to join our Midwest and East Coast relatives for a family reunion at this color-saturated, storybook, nothing-like-SoCal place that has been rooted in my uncle's wife's family for generations. It had no television and two pay phones on the porch of the Inn, but all the swimming, boating, tennis, hiking, archery, shuffleboard and capture the flag of your dreams. It's still very much that way today.

You know when a place hooks you? When in your absence from it, your return to it becomes more desperation than any level of desire? This is my "that place."

When I became old enough, during the summers between college, I packed up and spent full summers here, lifeguarding these waters and as a camp counselor.

When I became a mother, I began bringing Isaac, pooling every penny I had and often relying on others, in order that I might let him grow up here, too. When I looked at my son against this backdrop for two weeks this summer, I saw with no pretense that his blood's got the same mixture mine does. That his teenage agenda, any agitations and outside influences washed clear away the moment we drove down the lane. That to him, for this brief time, Silver Bay was all that mattered.

For Francesca, she's too young to tell. But I think the images I have to share show something like magic on her face . . .

For 14 days, the kids and I spent every moment with cousins, cousins' cousins and kids, aunts and uncles and friends, and my cousin's cousin tried to teach me the meaning of cousins twice and thrice removed. My mom was there, and my sister {who hadn't been in years} with her boys for their first time. For Corey's account of the trip, click HERE.

I reconnected with lifelong best friends and made the acquaintance of their children. After Silver Bay, we piled into a rented SUV with New York plates and traveled into Maine, where we connected with my mom's past, I met a favorite online friend and we caught days of the most spectacular scenery.

Everyone says I'd change my mind about the Northeast if I gave it just one winter, but anyone who knows me well also knows I'm a seasons person. That maybe instead of averting me, the brutal cold would be the one thing to make me stamp my foot down, upend life as I know it and allow me to settle into the one place my soul truly knows its peace. Well, maybe not . . . but herein, maybe I've also made my point.