When compiling my list of desired memories for 2021, this was one that I could feel when I jotted it down. My family bought the cottage when I was 13, and it immediately became a weekend destination… every weekend.
I have many, many memories of the cottage. They’re good, they’re bad, and yes, some are even ugly. I remember finally getting up on waterskis in early October and hearing the cheers of all our neighbors, who had come down to their docks to witness me rising out of the water in the frigid temperature. I remember the 135-minute, one-way drive because it always challenged my carsickness. And, ugh, I remember the endless chore of raking the bottom of the lake, hauling out the gross, decaying leaves.
Returning to the cottage as an adult is a way to make new memories. I can work on letting go of the dread I carried as a teenager, enjoy it for its serenity, and make it a place where I can have a true, relaxing vacation. That was my goal when I added this to my Memory List. But, this memory held so much more weight than it simply being time up at the cottage.
When I added this item to my list, it was early in the new year. We were in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic. I was halfway through my sabbatical, and feeling extremely homesick. I had had plans to visit at the end of January, but I decided to postpone the trip until COVID was under better control, until I and everyone in my circle of family and friends were vaccinated, and when I would be able to enjoy nicer weather.
Better weather meant late summer, and in closing my eyes, I could imagine standing on the dock at the cottage looking out at the peaceful lake. I could hear the loon calls in the morning. I could taste the coffee while sitting in the screened in porch. These thoughts became the core of this memory. Surrounding it, was imagining seeing family and friends for the first time in almost 2 years and giving them the biggest hugs.
I thought of going to a casino with my mom. I thought of going out to brunch with my dad. I thought of grabbing drinks with friends. But, at the end of each of these thoughts, I imagined spending time up at the cottage.
And there’s good reason. It’s beautiful up there…
I’m not even done my Canada visit (I’m driving back to Florida over Labor Day), but I can already tell that visiting the cottage will be on my list for 2022! Next time, though, I’ll have to make sure that the memory is specific enough to include roasting marshmallows over the fire.
For this year, though, this memory is accomplished!