It is perfect here right now. I watch the people on their vacations: reading in a beach chair in the shade; eating together the first night out as a family; grown adults chicken fighting in the pond. It is playful, lovely, languid. I can almost imagine the town from their eyes.
We are living a different kind of summer, the kind that comes with long days but good rewards. Skinny dipping under a full moon after ten hot, sticky hours in the restaurant. A day off catching bluefish and floating around the bay on a blow-up dingy and a boogy board. A garden out of control, offering up a volunteer harvest picked in snatches before breakfast, after work. Piles of laundry in need of folding, dog hair wafting down the stairs, tomato seeds ground into the rug. Girls who need extra attention in the time we have—mama in the morning, daddy before bed. Cutting fish, taking orders, moving tables. Food, beer, bed.
And yet already I am worried the summer is running out, that the Sundays are numbered before the cold weather begins. The tomatoes have just started and I can see them going the way of the strawberries, the sugar snaps. Recently I've been daydreaming about a way to keep it going, about a warm-weather vacation after all this ends. Could we go somewhere then? Early November, after the restaurant closes, the markets slow down? Dauphin Island looks nice. South Carolina, maybe, somewhere outside of Charleston. Sullivan's? I want an extra week of warm days, of naps and walks and reading in a bikini in the sand. I want my girls to know warm weather leisure, the way I did as a kid.
Soon enough, they'll be old enough to go to camp—Northway, in Algonquin, days spent canoe tripping and reading on the dock the way my sister and I did. The two of us joke that we'll go back as kitchen staff for a summer—cook over the woodstove again, torture our girls as the moms who just can't give up camp. And maybe that's part of it, this holding on. My baby's going to walk soon, my three year old is almost four, and I'm not sure I'm ready for this part to end.
But there's nothing I can do to slow it down, nothing I can do to tread water, to make this part extend. So the point, I guess, is this: This time right now is perfect, and I want to savor it. No matter how hot, how busy, how tired, I'm not sure it gets any better than this. There are peaches and blueberries and tomatoes, pond swims and beach days and these two sweet girls. And so every day, no matter what else happens, I want to enjoy it. Every single minute, because who knows if it will ever feel just like this again.