Last night it rained. A lot. Six inches in some areas, and enough to supply a steady rumble of rain on the roof. But it wasn't the rain that woke me up: it was an insistent tapping on my arm.
"Daddy. Daddy. DAADDDDY! I'm scared Daddy."
The rain came with thunder, and the thunder was loud enough to wake my little kiddo. She does not like thunder. At all.
"Grumph hrmph," I said, gesturing her into the bed.
When my wife was in the hospital, PalKid slept in my bed as often as not (OK, every night), but to have all three of us in one bed, comfortable and without IV lines was worth the lost sleep. We lost a lot of family time time this spring.
But August is our month for family. I don't generally take much time off, and having recently joined a new practice I'm ambivalent about leaving town. But August is mine. I spend two weeks away, each in one of my favorite places.
The first is here:
Me, PalKid, and EldestSis will get in the car before sunrise and drive until the road ends. Once there, I can take out splinters, hug homesick kids, swim in deep, cool waters, and turn off my pager. And of course, paddle.
A month is what I want; a week is what I'll get, and I'll be thankful for it. It's a working vacation, but one with a nice cabin, good food, friends...but I'm bringing my own coffee. I'll drink any coffee, but if I can avoid camp's pishechtz, I'll be much happier (and so will the nurses I'll share it with).
(For those ignorati who think my canoe is tipping over, go study your Omer Stringer and Bill Mason, then get back to me.)
Anyway, despite the pile of work that will await my return, it'll be well worth it. There is nothing like reaching for your belt and realizing that your pager isn't there and you don't need it. After a presumably joy-filled reunion of Pal, PalKid, and MrsPal, and a few late nights at the office, we'll head up to Favorite Place #2, my family's summer retreat for many, many decades (I'm fairly certain my dad first went up there sometime in the 1930's and we've rarely missed a summer).
This is the real-deal Up North summer vacation, with bikes, beaches, fudge, and family. The cast changes from year to year, but the setting does not (although, like every other idyllic place, people always complain that "it's not the same anymore"). Maybe we'll drive down to Sleeping Bear Dunes. Maybe we'll take a ferry to Mackinac Island. Maybe we'll just sit on the porch reading and watching the sun cross the sky.
For me, summer ends when I cross the 45th parallel heading south. The trees are still green, the heat is still there, but the air feels heavy and the fun has gone out of it.