Among my friends with children, it is widely acknowledged that "vacations" to visit one's family are not vacations at all. This is usually the case for us when we fly to Boston to be with Matt's family. It's not that there's anything horrible happening, or that we have to sleep on dirty floors next to the cat box, it's just negotiating the days with tiny kids and their issues and equipment can feel like scaling the mountain of Sisyphus. Add to that a couple divorces, a variety of jealousies, and New England reserve. Tensions - kept under wrap in company, exploded behind closed doors - can run high.
For whatever reason - the summer skies, the beauty of my father-in-law's rose garden spilling over with fluffy white blossoms, the Siamese cats who tolerate the children's attentions - everyone is relaxed. We spend our time drifing from the pool to the patio to the cool, open living room. We snack on the FIL's wife's phenomenal cooking. We lounge on the humongous Roche Borbois sofa and - readers, brace yourselves - we read.
I have read an an entire novel in four days, much of it during daylight hours. Do I need to tell those of you with children what a rarity that is? I have even had time to write long, luscious entries in my journal. I believe the reading and the writing and the time all bond together to create a perfect mental environment for even more elevated reading and writing. And thinking long thoughts.
This is Summer. This is Grace.