This morning I realized that it was Friday, which means it has been 7 days since we moved out of our family home in Northern California and onto…. well nothing yet. Technically, many of our immediate belongings are on the boat (and the other half we intend to move out of a friends’ garage next week). But for now, we are currently relaxing and recovering on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada, very grateful for the opportunity to celebrate important milestones with family we haven’t seen or spent quality time with in years and catching up on some much-needed sleep.
The move out of the house was by far the most grueling and stressful experience I’ve been through in recent times (including taking the bar exam and having two children). Yes, that may be dramatic, but it’s true. To be clear, this was not our first rodeo. As a married couple we have moved 14 times before this beast of a move. And more than a handful of those were out of state or long-distance moves. But the complexity of this move and the constant decision making involved in almost every aspect of the move, combined with the sheer volume of sh*t we had to process, purge, store, dump or donate was mind-bending. Finding new homes for our furry family members, figuring out boatschooling while we are gone and finding solutions for mail redirection/remote accessibility are just some of the other to-do’s that have occupied my mental capacities during this same time. Bonus for me, because I spearheaded the move-out effort, I was the default point-person for all things related to the move. So, from the time we landed at 6am on our red-eye return flight from our anniversary trip on July 18th to the final second we completed the moved on July 29th, I was in full-on GO mode. That’s a lot of GO-ing. A lot of adrenaline. A lot of coffee and wine consumed to power me up and de-power me to go to sleep (sometimes not so successfully).
Needless to say, I am VERY happy to be here, in this quiet place with wonderful people who understand what we are doing (the collective years of sailing experience on this side of the family is upwards of 50-75 years, including many bluewater and trans-Atlantic passages), are very supportive of our endeavor and provide rich texture to the fabric of my husband’s life that my boys don’t often get to see or experience. It’s been so wonderfully relaxing here that I’ve quite literally lost track of the days. Woot!
Coming here has been such a perfect transition to life afloat, one that we couldn’t have ever planned or anticipated. We are (mostly) off the grid, the kids have the freedom to run free, play on the beach, make sand angels, dig giant sand holes, swim, catch frogs and tadpoles, fish and have adventures in the woods — while mom and dad get to hang out with the adults, day drink, swim, and be as carefree as possible with 9 kids (and 10 adults) running amuck. There are bonfires on the beach, s’mores, sunset walks and rock skipping involved in many evening festivities. We don’t worry about who is watching our kids, because everyone is. We don’t have to think about how they’ll spend their time, because there is so much to explore and so many cousins to go exploring with. It has truly been an amazing experience and I’m thrilled to show our boys their father and grandfather’s side of the family.
We have eaten well, drank plenty, swam in some pretty cool (and amazingly clear) lake waters and introduced the Dixon boys to some of the wonderful things this side of the family does. We lit and released lanterns after a beach bonfire and sent wishes up to the night sky (and our guardian angels up there), each family (there are 4 here this year) took a section of the handmade wooden swimming platform and painted a representation of the family on it, the kids took part in an annual “pleasure” hunt around the cottage property and painted the birdhouses they received as part of the treasure hunt. Elliott has learned the joys of idolizing an older “brother” (cousin) and Finley has earned his stripes as an older “brother” to a younger cousin and gaining a new understanding of the love/hate – fight/play relationships between younger and older sibs. My husband gets to experience the deep joy of seeing his sons experience the family cottage at the same ages he did as a young boy, while at the same time reliving some painful memories of seeing the ghost of his father walk the beach path up to the cottage and that empty space where his dad should be at the table with us.
All told, this week has deeply gratifying, fortifying, rejuvenating and relaxing. And while there have been some stressful points (e.g., our renters complaining of some maintenance issues 5 times in the 5 days they’ve lived there), I have faith that we will leave here a bit more rested, a bit more tanned, perhaps a bit less toned, but a whole lot more happy we were than 7 days ago.
Thank goodness for the last 7 days of recovery. And thank goodness this part of Lake Huron is considered amongst the top places in the world to enjoy a sunset.
(Image 1: Kincardine Lighthouse. Image 2: Lake Huron sunset)