This weekend, for the first time in a very, very long time, there were four generations of my family at the lake house in New Hampshire.
My parents did a fair-to-middling job preparing the house for their first great grandsons–a VERY busy toddler and his one-year-old brother. However, they did an EXCELLENT job spoiling them rotten with presents, covering all the bases: there was something noisy (the moose that sings and dances), something with lots of pieces (an armory worth of foam Viking shields and swords, because my son-in-law is Swedish, so obviously the boys needed them), and something dangerous (battery operated vehicles that the Big Brother and the Little Brother could drive themselves).
Taking the boat across the lake to get ice cream was pretty great. Getting to drive the boat (in a big circle) was REALLY great. Well, it was great for the Big Brother. The Little Brother did not care for the life jacket at all and was beyond done. He let everyone know about it for the entire ride back to the dock.
As one might expect, bedtime was a disaster.
The next morning, though, there were plenty of hands to help. My youngest son and his girlfriend took Big Brother for a walk around the neighborhood. He exclaimed, “Hi, Guys!” to every person and animal he saw along the way. He was especially excited to see the family of turkeys. When they got back, my son completely lost his girlfriend to Big Brother, who grabbed her hand and pulled her next to him in the front seat of the project car in my parents’ garage. He pretended to take her for a ride, honking the horn, turning on the hazard lights, and shifting the gears.
My Personal Chef and I took the Little Brother for a walk in his stroller until he finally nodded off for a midmorning nap. We parked under some towering cedars right at the edge of the lake, and just watched him sleep. It was more wonderful than I could begin to express.
By early afternoon, we had all four generations ready for the beach: my parents (the Double Gs–for great grandparents), my Personal Chef and I (Papa and Nana), my son and his girlfriend, and my daughter and her husband, and their sons (Big Brother and Little Brother).
It. Was. Wonderful.
It was HOT–nearly 100 degrees–so we immediately all waded into the lake. Everyone had a ball. We swished and kicked and splashed. Big Brother tossed pine cones into the water. Little Brother got handed off from grown-up to grown-up, toes and hands wiggling in the water.
When we were shriveled, we went to the chairs we set up in the shade. We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We chased the family of ducks that walked right into the midst of us, gobbling up the crusts that Big Brother kept throwing down. “Hi Ducks! QUAAACKKK!” We built a sandcastle and poured buckets of water on top.
There is a lot that went wrong this past week. And this weekend at the lake was hard work. When the day was over, though, and I had time to reflect on it all; those hours with everyone together laughing and loving? That’s what is keeping me going.