A week or so ago, on one of the last, precious, nights of summer, my son and I re-watched the movie Toy Story while the girls slept upstairs and Mark was back in the city. Knowing that another summer was behind us, Luca was entering 5th grade, coupled with the inevitable chill in the air and overt recognition of time passing too quickly, I practically wept while watching and sensing the ache and rejection in Woody’s heart while he, inevitably, was being replaced by Buzz Lightyear as Andy’s favorite toy.
Maybe because turning 50 is really only a year and change away, or that Luca wanted to pick out all his own school clothes this year, and even my girls are revealing tidbits of maturation, this year’s back to school season hit harder. I can’t help but wonder if I’m entering the Autumn years of my life.
While the days can seem long, the years are short. And, watching kids grow up is like some sort of clock, forcing you to take stock as to where you fit in with all of their movement; questioning whether I am quietly slowing down. With the chaos that the twins bring, Luca’s homework, soccer and social schedule, I barely have a minute to think straight. But when I, finally, do get a quiet moment, it can be haunting.
There’s always something wistful about watching the days shorten and feeling the air become crisper. It’s a beautiful time of year on the East coast, but I’d gladly relish more time to breathe in the salty ocean air, soak up the warm sun and sand, and feel that unforgiving heat penetrate my skin, chasing the girls around the playground. The innocence and ease of long summer days, late dinners outside, fireflies and fireworks are abruptly replaced by brisk mornings at the bus stop, parent teacher meet and greets, and a never-ending string of frantic texts about homework, school projects, and soccer transportation.
As with every transition there comes reflection and lately I’ve been preoccupied with an assessment of my own “value” outside the home. Having just turned down a freelance opportunity that would pay me for my writing, I can’t help but feel slightly unsettled. I started freelance work when Luca was in school but since Laurel and Maxine came along, just don’t have the time. Being home with them is tremendously rewarding. But knowing I could earn a paycheck for writing, again, did provide a brief, if not fleeting, moment of pride too. Hopefully, when the time is right, something else will come along.
As the series progresses, Woody eventually makes his way back into Andy’s heart, only to get accidentally donated to daycare in the 3rd movie; instead of the intended destination of attic storage. When Woody and the gang manage to escape and find their way back, he does get chosen by Andy to go off to college; but we have no sense of what his future holds. Sequel or not, I guess that’s usually the case.
This may sum up the reason for my silence, but it does give, slightly, the wrong impression; one of relaxation. As a backstory, two years ago, when the twins were born, we bought a summer home for a place to get the kids out of the city in the summer, spend some more time with nature, ride bikes, boogie board, yada, yada, yada. We knew we needed some extra space, and crashing at my parent’s house, on summer weekends, with three kids, wasn’t going to work. And, for the most part, our time here is filled building memories with family beach days, barbecues, fresh seafood, dining el fresco, enjoying local berries and corn, and excessive amounts of Wolfer Summer In a Bottle, Rose’.
But, during the weeks in August, when I’ve been out here with Luca and the twins, alone, it tends not to be all sun, beaches and rose’. Well, just maybe not all beaches; and NOT ENOUGH ROSE’.
Upon our arrival last week, Max and Laurel immediately conspired that it was time to stop napping all together despite that they are only two and a half! And, just like that, as I was getting used to consolidating, ie cramming my writing into their hour and a half midday nap, along with other mundanities like cleaning and doing laundry, that precious time evaporated. Anticipating a full on crisis, I, luckily, found a morning drop off program at our beloved Children’s’ Museum of the East End, and enrolled them pronto. Thank god, after fully protesting on day one, they now love going to “my little camp” every morning. While it’s been a lifesaver, and managed to shaved off from 9:00- 12:00 daily, I still need to fill the remaining eight, non stop, hours from noon until bedtime! With two 2.5 year olds, it can be a very LONG day!
Grandma and Grandpa were also visiting us these past two weeks. With Mark gone, having the support of my mom on some long, hot afternoons at the park with the girls was a blessing. Grandpa also helped, a little, by entertaining them outside with the hose when their end of day crankiness (both the girls’ and Grandpa’s) typically amped up. But, initially, the girls sensed a situation they could manipulate to their advantage, which played out well for them those first few days.
With two extra adults fawning all over them, they weren’t sure if I still had the balls to instill time outs and strict bedtimes with grandma and grandpa looking over my shoulder. Possibly there was a new sheriff in town? And, like clockwork, there was a notable uptick in calculated tantrums and considerable limit pushing to throw us all into a tailspin. A lot to take after already suffering, mild, heatstroke from hours in the sun at every Google mapped playground available on the east end.
Thankfully, Luca loved the Hampton Country Day Camp, which managed to exhaust him all day with plenty of kids his own age. I can’t express my gratitude enough for providing peace of mind for his contentedness, along with their knack for distributing the optimal number of foam Thumbs Up and Starfish Awards (currently piled up on our kitchen counter), hosting super awesome bus karaoke and enough competitive sports to keep him fired up and ready for his 8:50 am pickup every morning.
With the Hampton Jitney or L.I.R.R. Cannon Ball Express delivering Mark back to us on Friday evenings, I, gratefully looked forward to another weekly family outing at Almond, Bridgehampton where Chef Jason executes impeccable cooking, someone else does the clean up, and, our friend, Jack, expertly, chills another bottle of our favorite rose’.
Last weekend we had tickets to two of the hottest, most exclusive, most famously attended, can I say ‘bestest’ summer events of the Hamptons. No, I am not going retro and referring to Sean Comb’s aka P. Diddy’s All White Party (so y2k and, sadly, no longer a thing). Nor am I referring to one of those, notorious, Hampton’s $10,000 per plate Hillary Clinton Fundraisers (we all know how that ended). And, no, we weren’t up all night hang’n with the hipsters at Montauk’s Surf Lodge (though I am definitely not ruling that out)!
Give up? All right, so maybe you missed it. We made the rounds with appearances at the Children’s Museum of the East End’s 9th Annual Family Fair, Animals A to Z! And, later that night (a’hem, actually around 6:30), hitting the Taste of Two Forks aka Dan’s Taste of Summer. Come on, people, this is real Hamptons’ partying!
Yes, in lieu of Rose’ All Day, we opted for sock octopus crafts, giraffe party hats, kangaroo sock races, pony rides, unicorn milkshakes, and very clucky pinatas. And, with sponsors like the people from Casper Napmobile, Sensible Sitters, and Hamptons Tumblebus, we knew we’d be walking outta there with some super hot swag in our gift bags! And, they did not disappoint. We’re talking regulation size Sauders & Associates frisbees, enough water bottles and sunscreen sticks to get Luca through the rest of summer camp, and 15% coupons for discounted babysitting with Sensible Sitters. Who could resist?
But, the true VIP action started later that day. Not quite 2:00 am, but just before sunset. Celebrating its 7th year as the creme da la creme of the East End summer events, Taste of Two Forks highlights the fare of Long Island’s North and South Forks, with tastings from top restaurants and star chefs of both sides! Set on the stunning waterfront property of Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton, Mark and I (thankfully with no kids, sock crafts, or unicorn milkshakes in sight) toasted glasses of local wine and fresh margaritas while watching the sun set over Mecox Bay and tasting everything, many times, from Noah’s, The North Fork Table and Inn, The Maidstone, Duryea’s Lobster Deck, The Frisky Oyster, etc, etc.
Maybe a far cry from the clubbing and late nights back in the day, (I think we were home by 10:00), but all in all, not a terrible way to spend the weekend. Now back to the social calendar to see what’s coming. Next up, Family Visiting Day at Sports Camp. Gotta get my gown.