From Aspen to Nantucket

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From Aspen to Nantucket 

The other night I had a dream that I met an angel with brilliant blue eyes, he looked a bit like a young Paul Newman and he told me that he had something very important to tell me. I worried. What if I couldn’t remember his words when I woke up the next day? He told me not to worry. That it would stay with me, and then he said, “People are too wound up in their thoughts. Everybody needs to simplify.” “Is that it?” I asked him, expecting something more philosophical with deeper meaning. “Yep,” he said. “That’s it.”

I guess this shows you what two weeks of island living can do for you. As you know, it didn’t start off so wonderfully. After our two day traveling fiasco, we got on the ferry and all six of us (kids plus nieces) breathed a huge sigh of relief. From the looks of it, our hellacious travels were over. As the ferry left the dock, I strolled straight to the bar and, in honor of the island we were heading toward where every moment is Happy Hour, I ordered a Bloody Mary. It was time to relax and let the salty drink combine with the salty air and wash down all of the stress that “Untied” had just delivered – the new name for United Airlines that Neal Browne mentioned in the comments section of my last post.

Looking up from my drink I locked eyes with a pretty blonde woman who appeared to have been watching me for some time. She gave me a big smile. I hoped that she was not worrying about my sidling up to the bar with five kids in tow but her expression said otherwise. Arriving at the dock, she approached me and said, “You’re an excellent mother.” All of the children had sat in my lap and cuddled with me in rotation during the boat ride and I guess she had gathered her own interpretation of our story.

We ran to the edge of the boat to seek out Grandma Nicky, and there she was waiting for us with open arms amidst other grandmas dressed in floppy hats and bright green and pink skirts with enormous blood red embroidered lobsters. We were back on our island where old world preppy meets surfer cool, meets blue collar worker, meets tourists from all walks of life, and where the encounters are not always amicable they are all a part of island living in Massachusetts.
Nantucket Island Living
How I would truly love to immerse myself in all ends of this life and write about it but as soon as my feet hit the ground, I am ready to escape from the crowds and flee to Grandma’s house, a quiet oasis from the chaos of a crowded tourist invaded town. Ok, maybe quiet is not the correct word for our sweet cottage that bulges at the seams when we are all there together, but it is a place where I am not alone in entertaining the children glob onto Grandma the second they see her.
When I walk into the house the exhaustion from the life I am taking a vacation from sets in and all I want to do is go to bed for three days while the kids, fully charged up, begin their games of tag, snail races and hide and seek around Grandma’s gardens as she yells out to them to not trample the Hydrangeas.

But Grandma is not your ordinary Grandma, other than what happens in her garden she does not allow for her feathers to get too ruffled by playfully rambunctious children and is usually bustling about  concocting desserts like rhubarb pie and fresh berry crumble, scuttling about in the eye of the children’s hurricane. It is heaven having a support network comprised of Baddy, my mother and my sisters, and together we make it all happen; the sandwiches for the beach, the steamers and lobster dinners, the cleaning. For two weeks life slows down and we let the island work its charms on us as we sink into the sand like beached whales from all of the fresh baked bread and enormous meals, and we play in the waves amongst the seals…and the sharks.

In the mornings, Baddy and I take off for our bike rides together inhaling the sweet island scents and catching up on conversations that should have taken place months ago but our busy lives never allowed for the opportunity. He is very good at shedding the busy and easily slips into relaxo mode and didn’t even get too upset when a carload of surfers yelled out “Lycra Boy” in passing. He laughed it off where normally he would pump his long legs to chase the car down and give them a taste of Lycra-boy’s super natural powers. I guess Lyra is just not an island thing, even fresh off the back of Tour de France.

When I get a chance I visit my oldest sister Melanie and her house filled with two Ferrets – one white and one ringed like a raccoon, a silky black long-eared bunny rabbit, a Guinea Pig and a fat cat. If Baddy were to walk into the house he would  surely have to be shot in the leg with an epi-pen. The ferrets, who smell like honey, are separated from the others and live in Melanie’s bedroom, with their backs hunched up and their little paws padding on the floor, they follow her around as she gets dressed for all of her social gatherings.

On our final night on the island we all went down for our last ice-cream run. This time we decided to wait in the endless line for the home-made ice cream at The Juice Bar. The children draped around me as we stood in line under a crystal clear sky illuminated by an almost full moon. The humid air had absorbed into their hair and skin and they felt all soft and silky. Touching their olive skin as they looked up at me with their luminescent eyes I thought about what the pretty blonde woman had said to me on the ferry and I realized that it is not that I am an excellent mother but more the lucky recipient of love from all of these children.

As I pack up, I mentally prepare for our move into our new home and I try and store away my peaceful state of mind and the words from my movie-star angel in the hopes that I will be able to try and not get caught up in the stress of it all and remain unwound as I remember the touch of silk and sand and priceless summer days.

 

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