-Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
For the fourth consecutive summer, three families melded into one large dysfunctional family for an extended weekend. The first year we tented it, experiencing extreme heat and humidity one day and chased away by a thunderstorm the next night. The next year we wised up and rented a teensy-tiny cabin in Wisconsin. Although the experience was much improved from huddling under a tarp slung over cars to hide from the sweltering sun the year before, it still didn't suit our needs. The following year the search continued for the perfect location, and we were elated to find our Lake House. Although it is still a bit cramped and only has one bathroom, we make the house situation work because we absolutely love everything about the outside--private, secluded lakefront beach, spacious backyard, large eat-on deck, and fire pit. It was a no-brainer to return to this destination again this year.
Back in the spring we searched for an available weekend for all three families and booked it. The months crept up on us, and soon we were stuffing every inch of our vehicles with enough crap for a month and hauling it to this picturesque, memory-making lake-side cabin for the second summer in a row. Each year we wonder if we will soon outgrow this place, our expanding families and growing children threatening to burst out of the four bedroom, one bath house. But each year we shrug the notion aside and agree we can make it work at least one more summer, ticking off the ways we will make it work. That's how much we love our Lake House.
We arrived late in the afternoon on Friday, laying claim to our bedrooms and then fleeing to the backyard where the magic happens. We BBQ'd, the kids played, we sat around a bonfire, and relished the start of our much anticipated cabin trip.
Saturday started slowly. We slept in, lounged around the house, showered in shifts, and snacked the morning away before we lazily made our way outdoors. The kids, who had been asking about the beach since before even arriving at the cabin, finally made contact with the lake. Life jackets were strapped on, big trucks were hauled out of hiding, innertubes were blown up, buckets and shovels were passed between sandy hands, and the kids dispersed upon the beach under the halo of the cloudy sky and viciously buzzing mosquitoes. Then the sprinkles chased us inside for lunch and naps, and we never did make it back down to the beach that day.
Something more viscous than the mosquitoes attacked us Saturday, a different kind of bug altogether. Suddenly the one bathroom posed problematic, some doing the potty dance outside the closed door awaiting their turn. It is inconclusive what exactly swept through the house that day, and lingered into Sunday for some. A stomach bug, perhaps; or maybe something we ate didn't sit well. But one thing is certain: nothing puts a damper on a vacation like upset tummies. Luckily the kids were spared, for the most part.
By Sunday we were feeling better and ready to resume our cabin trip, spending the majority of the day on the beach. Every crevice of our bodies were caked with sand, bug spray, sweat and chocolate--just how every summer day spent with friends should be. We ended the night around a bonfire, roasting marshmallows, sipping "juicy beers", swatting bugs, passing a greasy tube of anti-itch ointment around the circle, and laughing--always laughing.
Although Monday is always consumed with packing and cleaning and divvying up leftover food, and the mood isn't as light-hearted, fights ignite quicker with patience wearing thin, conversations about the next summer's trip to the Lake House always creep in. It's magical, this place.
Until next summer. . . . .