Like many families, this month finds us traveling in an attempt to stall the end of summer. For us August is always a sort of time travel. Each year we return to the scene of the crime, Cape Cod, where my wife and I were married twenty years ago this October. The place we lived while the roads seemed lined with possibilites.
As we bored our five children with tales and sites of where we married, lived and dreamed of the life we would have in Hyannis Port (or Hyannisport) it all seemed like only yesterday. To our teens it also seemed like only yesterday, as they moaned and groaned that they had heard all of these stories and seen these sites before. But this year was different. This year they took note of where we were.
For the first time our tribe seemed to realize that the homes perched upon Nantucket Sound were mansion-like. They were in awe of the exculsive Beach Club and envious of teens their age driving very nice jeeps with little care– several nearly falling out of those jeeps as they parked however they wanted– as if intoxicated.
“How could you ever leave Hyannis Port?” our daughter asked us.
I asked myself the same thing suddenly.
It was not easy. At the time it was a heavy loss.
“I wish I grew up here!” our oldest daughter complained. “Then I would be rich and spoiled, if you didn’t move from Hyannis Port.”
It was true, I thought as I recognized the teens in the jeep from a family I waved to and greeted as neighbors when our children were all still in strollers. Hyannis Port was a long way from Monona, Wisconsin. Far from Monona, Wisconsin I wondered where our plan had gone wrong. We had failed to give our children the lives we hoped to give them.
“You are spoiled,” I told my daughter.
That did not go over well.
“You are richer than you know because you are growing up in Monona.”
That did not go over well.
In Truro we treated ourselves to a meal out because too many cooked meals on vacation make it feel almost like not being on vacation.
The server was a teenage girl who said she enjoyed working at the seaside spot, located near a string of salt houses grown out of sand and sea grass so that the yards are the Atlantic Ocean. When I asked the teen server if she enjoyed working the dinner shift, rather than the early morning breakfast one she did last year, she said she did, I asked if it was because she could go to the beach during the day. Her answer surprised us. She does not go to the beach during the day, she told us, but cleans houses and watches children because there are no jobs in Truro during the off-season. She has to work hard when she can she said. This stayed with us.
As we left our daughter who wanted to have grown up in Hyannis Port said she felt rich and spoiled because she lives in Monona.
We continue to travel Cape Cod this month, reminded of where we began our life together and how we thought it would turn out.
None of it is as it should be according to the plans we made. Monona, Wisconsin was not even on the map for us twenty years ago. The plan did not belong to us but, somehow, it could not have turned out any better. Of that we all are sure.