As I stood chopping vegetables for the salad last night, I asked my friend, Michelle, what her favorite part of her summer had been. She answered that she’d enjoyed spending days at a local pond with her children. It’s quaint and small, and picturesque, she explained. There’s a wonderful sense of community there. Everyone knows one another; looks out for one another. It’s comfortable, easy, and safe.
Then she turned the question to me – What had been the best part of my summer?
I thought about it and realized it had been our trip to the island in the middle of Annabessacock Lake in Maine…and that many of the reasons I liked it best were the antithesis of the reasons she so enjoyed her days at the lake.
I’ll explain what I mean, but first, here’s why I loved it…
It was just us – my two girls, our dog, and I, alone on an island – and never was there a time when we were not enough for each other. I loved that, for a number of reasons…
I am keenly aware, having siblings and friends with teens, that there will soon come a time when our threesome alone (particularly with no internet and no phone) may not be enough to engage my children.
I loved the simplicity of our days there…for there was very little to do. The girls relied on each other and their imaginations (and sometimes cards, a canoe, a fishing net…) for entertainment.
They also wanted to participate in the seemingly arduous tasks of cooking and cleaning (no running water, no electricity). The novelty of the water hand-pump and fire pit tending seemed to fill them with a sense of purpose and importance that perhaps chores at home are lacking.
Here’s where I found the starkest contrast to Michelle’s reasons for enjoying the nearby pond…
This trip was challenging, and outside of my comfort zone. I felt scared (in the best possible way). We were never in danger. I was just scared that it would be a disaster, that we’d need to be picked up early because we (I) couldn’t hack it.
I was scared to fail.
Therefore, being there made me feel brave…and it turns out I so needed that.
Somehow, taking us away not only from our friends and family, but from our basic comforts, and still being able to be a strong provider was exactly what I needed.
You’d think that after loss and heartbreak, I’d be seeking the safe, comfortable, community feeling of the local pond, but…
It seems so obvious to me now, in hindsight.
Losing someone whom I needed made me want to prove we don’t need anyone.
It sure makes sense to me.