We are on vacation.
Well, not anymore. We were on vacation, but by the time you read this, we’ll be back. But right now, as I write this, we are on vacation.
And it hasn’t quite been the vacation I had planned.
This week at Lake Chelan is the epicenter of our family joy. It’s a multi-generational extended-family event that brings us hundreds of miles from home in order to bring us closer together.
A week. Seven days. Of swimming and tubing and putt-putting and sunscreen and near-triple digit temperatures and trips into the quaint stores in tiny towns.
This year was different.
Day One was a forgotten suitcase, which meant I didn’t finally arrive until Day Two. Day Three was a delayed flight, so my brother and his family didn’t arrive until well after dark. Day Four included a four-and-a-half hour trek to pick up Cole’s friend who was away at the start for a funeral.
And then there was the weather.
Or more accurately, then there were the fires. Not historically devastating as they are in California, but big enough and close enough to mean the sky has never been blue, the air has a flavor of smoke, the ash covers the patio chairs and the predicted temperatures in the upper 90’s are actually highs in the mid-70’s.
This year is different.
Did it change our activities? Sure. Did it impact the experience? Yes. Did everyone still have a great time? Absolutely.
Because the kids did what kids do better than adults—they let go. They let go of expectations and schedules and the list of Things We Do at Chelan.
They accepted. Then adjusted. And laughed, just as much as before.
They are showing us the way for Week 9 of Summer of Love.
Where is your life different? Where is reality unlike expectation? What truth about your child are you holding too tightly? Are they not the academic you assumed you’d have? Not the athlete you’d wanted? Not the socially capable kid you longed for?
Whatever it is, see it. Be with it. Unclench your heart. Open your hand.
Let go of the suffering. Breathe in your child’s truth. Accept it.
For a few days this week, hold it gently.
And then, just like this group of cousins, find laughter. Not the laughter you expected, but the laughter that is here for us in our real lives.
And please let me know. I’d love to hear it.
p.s. want to (re)read Summer of Love?
Here’s the choose-your-own adventure of week 1.
And the joy of week 2.
Should you read week 3? I think you should. 😉
And check out what’s left Unsaid in week 4.
As for week 5? It was hot and sticky and sweaty and time to say “will you paddle for me?”