We ended the night around the campfire, toasting marshmallows and eating our hard earned blueberry ice cream. We were exhausted, but happy to be so. It was the result of a good day, a relaxing one filled with delicious food and light shopping.
It was Father’s Day 2013, and we spent it on vacation in Maine. The long awaited trip was planned and plotted by my mother and sister. Most of the time I felt that my dad and I were simply along for the ride. The long, sixteen hour car ride, that never seemed to end.
The air by the cabin was clean and cool. We were just steps away from the water, but even further away from the bustling tourist shops. Our quaint cabin was tucked away next to a beautiful, clear lake. My dad had decided on the first day that the weather was too cool for fishing and swimming. Instead, he wanted to relax. He slept in late, ate his meals outside, then started a fire in the pit outside. He seemed happy to not be rushed.
It was easy to be relaxed in a cabin like that. The golden wooden beams that lined the floor, walls, and ceiling were warm and inviting. The screened-in porch contained a picnic table and hammock chair, both of which were used within the first five hours after we arrived.
The cabin had a distinct smell, like an old library mixed with the blankets from my grandma’s house. It was lived in, but not ruined. The chairs and beds were well worn, as was the small nook in the left side of the loft. There was a tall bookcase against the wall, lined with different books, varying from Harry Potter and children’s stories to tour books and maps.
Staying in that cabin in Maine was like living a different life. Everyone moved at a different pace than Indiana. We were always slightly off, but no one seemed to mind. We decided to cook our own fish and lobster one night, so we stopped by a seafood market. It was set up in a small wooden shanty that you could only fit about five people in. Half of the shanty housed the lobsters, which were caught by the owner’s husband. “He’s a lobsterman,” she told us proudly.
While we were trying to decide what the different sizes of lobster meant, one worker reached into the tank and held up two different lobsters to demonstrate the difference. When she pulled them out of the water, they both pulled their legs up, as if to say “Nooo! Back in the water!” My whole family laughed at the flailing lobsters, which is just a little terrible, I know. The woman offered to cook the lobsters for us, and my mom’s face lit up.
“You can do that here?” she asked excitedly. The woman smiled and told us that we could pick them up in thirty minutes. “Oh, that would be great!” my mom said. The woman took our information, and we headed off to the store to get the ingredients for the rest of our meal.
When we got into the car my dad asked “Why did you have them cook it? I thought you wanted to do that.” My mom just shrugged him off and said “This will be easier.” It was a bit odd, considering all my mom could talk about the weeks before the trip was getting fresh lobster. The cabin came with pots and pans, and plenty of lobster eating essentials, although we didn’t find the shell cracking thing until the night before we left. My dad took a meat tenderizer and cracker the lobsters for us. He’s good like that.
That night after we had our fresh seafood dinner, my mom was going on about how easy it was to have the lobsterman’s wife cook the lobsters for us. “You just didn’t want to have to cook them yourself,” I teased. “I really didn’t,” she said to me, giving me a serious look. I wanted to laugh, but I could understand. I’d be terrified of tossing a live lobster into a pot of boiling water.
While my sister and I washed the dishes, my dad started a fire outside. Soon, we were all outside again, drinking beers and roasting marshmallows, listening to my parents tell stories from before we were born. I couldn’t get enough of those stories. It was strange to think that at my age, my mom was just planning out her life with my dad, talking about wedding plans and building a house.
My dad told us stories of their families, and it made something very clear. My parents were both the black sheep of their families. It’s not really as extreme as it sounds, but their both so different from their siblings. I understand why they’re together. They’re both so selfless, but incredibly stubborn. Both so caring, and would do anything for their families, no matter what happened. And they both always tried to do what was best, even if it wasn’t the easiest.
The weeks and months before the trip, I was dreading it. I did not want to spend a week with my family locked away in a cabin. I wanted to be home, doing anything else. We hadn’t been on a family vacation in over eight years, since before my brother passed away. The last time we had a family trip, I was young and didn’t understand why we had to take a vacation together. But now that my siblings and I are grown, I feel like I understand it. My parents just want to spend time with us. That’s all they ever want from us. The briefest visit or phone call seems to make them happy.
It’s something that I hope to mirror one day. I hope to raise my future children well. I want them to feel overwhelmingly loved by their parents, and to know that I’ll be there for them, for whatever crazy decisions they might want to make.
A week away from work was nice. I was able to dress up everyday, stead of dressing like a baker, and eat all the macaroons I could find. It made me fall in love with the east coast all over again.
Thank you for reading!