We’re back home now after finishing off our week in Pennsylvania with a few days at my family’s lake house in the mountains. My grandparents built this house in 1971 and with the exception of two newly renovated bathrooms, it is pretty much the same as it was 40 years ago.
I spent all of my childhood summers here and have the happiest memories of being here with my mom, grandmom, and aunts, my brother and my cousins – of waking up in the morning and running right outside in bare feet to go fishing off the dock before breakfast; of searching for crayfish under big rocks in the lake; of sailing and canoeing and kayaking and learning to row a rowboat; of jumping off the dock in inner tubes and then kicking back to shore as fast as we could to jump in again; of riding bikes around the roads with no where in particular to go; of exploring in the woods and discovering fresh springs and old crumbling chimneys and perfectly straight rows of hundred-year old trees and imagining there was magic in those forests; of eating fresh-baked bread with butter for breakfast, lunch, and many, many snacks; of husking corn out back and frying fish we’d caught that day for dinner; of eating the most delicious blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries I’ve ever tasted right off the bush.
My brother and cousins and I are all grown now, many of us with families of our own, and are spread out from Massachusetts to Georgia so spending our whole summers here together is a thing of the past. But I feel so lucky to have these golden memories of waking up together in the morning and spending the whole day together and whispering in bed at night when we were supposed to be sleeping, while the lake lapped against the rocks outside our window. It was carefree and old-fashioned and almost impossibly charmed.
Of course, being here now holds an entirely different kind of charm for me. I get to watch my own little girls run around and explore this place I loved so much as a child. I get to see Ada’s eyes light up when she spots a mother duck and her ducklings paddling across the water or finds a ripe blueberry on the bush. I get to see Ellie toddle-run to the front door as soon as she wakes up screaming, “Wa-wa! Wa-wa! Wa-wa!”
It’s a quieter time now than the thrumming chaos I remember from my childhood but I’m still so glad I get to share with my daughters this house and this lake and this time with my grandmom and parents, even if it’s only a few days every year.