Our dear friend Bea, at the invitation of her very kind friends the O'Malleys, invited us to spend the week at the O'Malley family camp on Lake Androscoggin. It sounded fun, but we had no idea just how MUCH fun it would be! Beyond it being the first (and much-needed) break since before our big move, and an incredibly beautiful setting, what made the trip most rewarding were the beautiful people we were fortunate to spend time with. Though we were strangers, the O'Malleys and their family welcomed us AND our children(!) with warm hospitality and open arms. They were amazingly patient and attentive with our children, incredibly kind, wondeful chefs (Turkish food! Yum!) and we enjoyed great conversation and company with them! It felt like a little bit of home! Add that to the awe-inspiring view of the lake, the quiet, peaceful serenity of the setting, the opportunity to swim/boat/play in the sand/read/relax/etc all day, and the extra warm weather (allowing us to enjoy the water!), and it was a week of heaven for our family. Pure bliss.
Our children took to the water almost immediately. Wiggles loved the water but was mostly content to simply sit on the sand with her bucket and shovel. Grins entered slowly, with a bit of trepidation at the beginning, but towards the end of our visit was even jumping off the dock on his own! (Wearing a life jacket, of course. As a side note, just so I can remind him someday, I LOVE that he has no qualms about wearing the pink, flowery life jacket. I hope he will always choose what he likes without feeding into silly societal mores.) Angel was a 'water baby' from day 1, but surprised us all with her stamina! She swam across the lake to 'Seagull Island', a little collection of rocks on the other side of the lake (with the help of a life jacket, but still, a LONG way!) And, on the final day of our stay, after we had ventured into town for an ice cream cone and visit to the library, she and the Mr. even swam the entire distance back to camp from town, which equated to quite a distance! Seeing their rapid progress and their intense love for the water made me long to just abandon all reason and move there forever. Or at least, instilled within me a dream of someday living on a lake. It was that great.
The Mr. and I had just as much fun as the children. One day, after several hours of swimming, Angel and the Mr. were floating lazily around in the water when he commented to me, "I feel like I should be doing something. It feels wrong to be this unproductive." to which I replied, "Your children are actually spending time with you - AWAKE - a rare treat for us! This relationship-building, memory making time is entirely productive!" And we proceeded to enjoy it as such without the least bit of guilt. Mostly. :)
It was the picture perfect vacation, except of course for the minor fatality we experienced: our camera. (In my ultra-relaxed state I failed to remember the camera in my pocket before diving into the lake...and the camera didn't appreciate the several hour lengthy submersion in lake water.) Fortunately, Bea got some beautiful shots (she is amazing! Thank you Bea!), so our trip was not entirely un-documented. All in all, it was a week of precious moments during which many friendships were forged and life-long memories made. We are so grateful to the O'Malleys & family and Bea for thoughtfully including us in such a grand time!