We said goodbye to summer in the best way we knew how: by gathering at the cottage for one last beach day. Except that the water was warmer than the air, so while all the kids were brave enough to take to the waves, they quickly hustled themselves upstairs and into warm tubbies and soft towels.
Except for Lulu and Nana. They could have stayed forever. But there was a table groaning under the weight of gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free goodness and 22 people ready to dig in. But only so far. Because we had to save room for s’mores (which are not gluten, dairy or sugar free and that makes them even yummier).
There were cousins (best friends) who we are blessed to see all the time, but who always act likes it’s been years. Years. Just hafta see you again.
And curly lips covered in chocolate gooeyness.
And girls in matching ribbons tied by Aunt Jenna and reminding me of myself when I was little.
And, oh seriously. Someone is going to have to kiss that off.
And at some point you have to look around and think to yourself,
Self? You are the most blessed self in the world. Just look at these people you get to do life with. They are beautiful and real and they love Jesus and make him look good. They challenge you and encourage you and pray for you and a million other things that make them your family and you the luckiest gal on earth. Because the cottage, second only to my own home and maybe London, is my favorite place. And mostly that’s because it’s filled with my favorite people on earth. With sisters who sit and knit and solve parenting problems and cousins who never fight but are each other’s best friends and a matriarch and patriarch who cover the whole crazy mess in prayer and love. This is the good life. Seriously.
There were cousins merry-making in the flickering light of the fire, making a pyramid and effectively killing Nana’s aspirations for a Christmas card photo this early in the season. But also having one last chance to get sand in their toes. And their hair.
And we helped close the place down for the season by bringing up the beach toys and watching Papa stack the furniture. We’d have helped, but it turns out there’s a system for even that, so we just hauled stuff over and left him to it. There was a last batch of Papa’s famous popcorn and a last trampoline jump and a last time to totally make a tangled mess of the ladder golf game.
And then, at the end of the night, s’mores in full tummies and beach bag bulging with left-overs to take home, with tired people strapped into seats and the fire burning itself out on the beach, with a last glimpse of Nana and Papa waving from the stone walkway, we said our goodbyes to summer.
We love summer. But now we’re running eagerly into fall’s cool arms and looking forward to warm nummies and crinkly leaves and hot dogs in the outside fireplace. Goodbye summer. Hello fall.
This is me being real.