I lie down beside Hilly on the raft and she begins to read Dune to me unprompted, picking up where her own silent reading left off.
Lying with my eyes closed, I can hear Olive paddling around in the shallows with the waves lapping against her little floatie tube. She happily chats with Lizzie and Mawney while Claire relaxes in the background and my mom putters around on the porch.
It’s been five days of this. Lake swimming and family time; meals prepared and eaten and cleaned up; watching all of these moving pieces coming together to form an ecosystem we’ve been building since the day we were born.
We get together like this every year. We call it The Rumpus.
My whole family has an odd affinity for old fashioned lives. Any Somerville get-together is marked by the tappity-tap of typewriters, scattered piles of vintage suitcases and scarves, and any number of thrift shop finds given a second life.
It wasn’t a surprise then, when my littlest sister Mawney brought an old Pentax camera on our recent trip to Bobcaygeon, Ontario. It used film ( real film!) And when she finally found a place to develop said film, she sent me some of the pictures.
I have five siblings. We are all congregating at our cottage in Bobcaygeon, Ontario on Saturday. The past six weeks has been a haze of “Reply All” emails trying to coordinate arrival times, cars, meals, and sleeping arrangements. A week ago the emails escalated into the only thing my brother hates more than Apple products…the Group Text. Behold, this morning’s exchange – begun after Hilary sent out a meal schedule.
Things are percolating here, betwixt the cavernous confines of my mind.
Something about being with my family feels like having a mirror held up before you, close enough to see all your wrinkles, your myriad flaws and errant hairs.
It’s heartbreaking. It’s inspiring.
I always leave feeling like I’ve been scrubbed clean, like I’ve got work to do.
My erstwhile brother has sold his house.
With this news, plus Hilary swanning around Costa Rica, and Adam and I still waiting on a house (and job, and car, and REAL LIFE ghsmshakdnfnehsnfuck), exactly 3/6 – that’s 50% – of my siblings are homeless.
My siblings and I: blowing parental expectations out of the water since 1980.