Sunday, July 7, 2013

New York Adventures


We headed to the Hamptons, about ten days ago, for our annual summer break. Even though we've been doing this for the last 20 years as a family (and even more since childhood for me) this year felt different and I wouldn't, couldn't really, commit to it until the last minute.

You see,  I was anxious about being in my Mom's house without my Mom this first time. She loved the place so much. She looked forward to it all year long, and as a happy consequence, so did the rest of my brothers and sisters. For as long as we all can remember Southampton has represented all that was good about family, and summer, and home. I dare say it means a great deal more to us all than the regular house we shared for daily life where beds and kitchens are  basic comforts from the regular monotonous grind. But  it's not like that at the beach. The beach is sort of sacred to us for its ability to wash away the stresses of life, gain new perspective, and give us all new chances at our failings with ourselves, and each other in my family. Like the waves, we all keep coming back, over, and over, and over again. Changing yes, but softly, gently, gracefully from year to year.

And so the thought of going back  was riddled with fears of the grief that those memories might hold of such a recent loss. But a small voice inside of me kept calling out to me too, and I have learned to trust that 'littler' voice a bit more as time goes on. It didn't quite say "If you build it, he will come" but more like "if you go there, they will come."  And so with a few prayers, a very full van, and (thanks to my husbands closet pyromania problem-) a trunk full of fireworks we headed out.

We arrived the first night, after midnight, and I was restless sleeping in my Moms' room. By morning we discovered major plumbing problems that Fred couldn't fix ( and as you all know, Fred-can-fix-anything) which had us moving out overnight. That story is so good it deserves a post of its own, and so I'll try to get to it once the unpacking is done if you'll just be patient!). But thankfully, by the second morning we were back up and running.

For certain, I checked many times to see if my Mom was out sweeping, or puttering around the yard, or folding laundry, and I felt I could almost see her shadow pass me a few times as I joked with the kids and tried to feel 'normal' again in her house. Her presence was in every nook and cranny.

And then it happened. Slowly at first. They arrived. Neighbors stopping to chat, and then nieces, and sisters, and cousins, and friends, and nephews, and in-laws, and brothers, and... they just kept coming. And it was wonderful! And while we all worked through old memories that were difficult and beautiful, we managed to build a few new ones to get us through the present. And that happened so naturally because all our children love each other so too. And those generation are multiplying, and old faces show up in new little ones. People stop and comment 'your little boy looks like your nephew!' or 'your daughter smiles like your sister does!', and traits and similarities are so apparent in us all. And  in that  both my parents were linked to us all again for those few blissful days.

You needn't ask me if we had a wonderful week at the  beach. I took so many pictures, and they tell the story quite well, even if I simply add a few comments for back drops. (But it was wonderful, by golly, yes- it was!)

settling into the bay
shuffle board
Mashashimuet park ( what a mouth full!)
this is ALL of my kids at the playground- no joke!
Matt- like a boss
boogie board
photo bomb compliments of Pete and Joe
Roman emperors for all
Andy Warhol  reenacted by Andy Pete and JP
Jess, GA, and Charlie show up!
Red, White, and Blue
not only did they throw out candy at the parade this year- but also beach balls!
JP was seriously happy to hug that dog!
And just as the fireworks began my sister Celine arrived
sparklers were the warm up show for Fred's firework extravaganza 

He lit them off for almost an hour straight!
Ciara is like a big sister to my girls!
And Liam is a built in buddy!
Uncle Tim played all weekend long!
First a sweet shot of some of the girlies...

Mix in some boys....
And then Aunt Angela added 24 cans of silly string!

she deserved that spray !

Graceann watch out!
Jess and Freddy at their usual 
missing the rest of our siblings for this great shot!
Tommy did not beat a single Rogan in badminton all week- poor kid! 
cousins at the bird sanctuary
be vewwwy quiet!
Uncle Chris supplied the sunflower seeds

my crew at the walks end
Here's Braxton- my sister Celine's grandson!
fast friends
I know you'll be surprised to hear Fred and Celine got into a water fight while filling the kiddie pool
And soon dragged Mark into it...
while Merrick and Peter wrestled on the grass like they used to when they were two!
John-Paul still has a loooonnng way to go to catch his cousins in height!
And my sweet sister Teresa surprised us all !
And added to all the fun as usual
Even got into a watermelon eating contest!

Do you think he likes it?
Anna needed a bath afterwards!


  1. So glad you had a good trip! LOVE the "red, white, and blue" photo.

  2. I found your blog through your sister Jackie, so now you have a new follower! I'm over at Can We Cana? (Sometimes at CatholicMom dot com). Very pleased to meet you!

    1. Hi Karee! Nice to meet you too. Most welcome here anytime! Hope I don't bore you.

  3. Wow! I see your Mom in you and all your sisters faces! I'm sure she was smiling down on all of you. How wonderful you can go back to the same home. I still close my eyes and mentally walk through the homes of those I dearly miss. :)

    Much Lve,

    1. Thanks Sherry! It was really a gift!