The party went off without a hitch. Well, except for that rain storm that conveniently began right at six o’clock and didn’t let up for hours. (The weather forecast was spot on . . . imagine that.)  But we left the candles sputtering outside and managed to fit more than one hundred people inside. It was really a lovely evening: an abundance of food and drink and an abundance of love and celebratory words for Louisa.

There was such an abundance of food, in fact, that Austin and I drove down to the hospital yesterday to deliver trays of gourmet treats to the oncology floor. I’d called the nurses’ station ahead of time to ask them to set out a table for families and staff to partake of our leftovers. It is such an extra burden on families to have to purchase their own food, for parents as well as the healthy siblings who often spend hours if not days if not weeks on the floor. (So, if you ever have tons of extra food that you don’t know what to do with, let me know . . .)

And now, did I mention that we need a vacation? Oh, and did I mention that we’re getting one? Our next door neighbors here on Wellington have an old farmhouse on the coast of Maine that they visit for long stretches each summer and then rent out when they’re not there. Well, there were no scheduled renters for the month of September and (knowing we could use a break) they offered it to us. And we, prone to living life to the fullest, jumped at the chance.

So, we are heading to Tenants’ Harbor, near Penobscot Bay, this Thursday morning to stay for a long weekend, returning Monday afternoon.  The kids will both miss a few days of school, but it just doesn’t matter.  This is an incredible opportunity for us to step out of our usual rat race and simply be together for a few days, exploring a new environment and savoring slower simpler ways.  We have trails to hike and seals to view by boat, there’s a pond to catch frogs in and charming New England towns to explore. I’ve long regretted that my children have had few authentic travel experiences; they’ve been to Disney World and Kalahari, fancy (but exclusive) resorts in Jamaica and Puerto Rico. But they haven’t seen our country and its grand variability; they haven’t witnessed other ways of life, those dictated by oceans and their tides.

Although I have to admit that the thing they’re most excited about is that we rented a minivan!