For the last 4 summers, my family and I have traveled about an hour north of our home to spend some quality time in leafy, beachy, beautiful York Harbor, Maine. The tradition started when I was pregnant with our daughter Elena—in fact, she arrived quite suddenly and early the very day we returned from that first trip, and Mike and I like to joke that it was because she wanted more of the delicious pumpkin ice cream with hot fudge sauce that I’d eaten at Brown’s a few days before.
For the past two years, we have rented a house for a week so that we can eat plenty more ice cream, and lobster, and let Elena chase seagulls at the beach every afternoon. We’re looking forward to the day when hours of book reading in the shade can also figure into our plans, when Elena is finally old enough to occupy herself that way.
On our last day in Maine this summer, I took Elena for one more trip to the beach, and she was having a grand time splashing and laughing and running. It was a perfectly blue-skied, breezy afternoon, and the ocean made everything it touched glitter
While I was completely enjoying the moment, I also felt something like nostalgia for the summer… and for the previous summer, when I had stood on that very same beach, during that same pre-Labor Day week of year. 2012 had been a very unique summer for me, and I hadn’t even realized at the time: it was my last summer as a writer with no book yet to her name. This summer, 2013, I published my first book, and in many ways, the summer was all about its launch. The previous summer, I had been writing the book, and enjoying every writerly moment, but I was still in ignorance about the ways that publishing it would affect me and my life.
I don’t want to overblow this. In some ways, to paraphrase Anne Lamott, publishing a book is kind of anti-climactic. It didn’t make me any smarter, richer, or thinner. And yet it was still a dream come true.
As I stood on the beach, watching the waves rise and crash and retreat, I wondered what I would be reflecting back on NEXT summer….and I was already nostalgic for THIS summer, and what I didn’t already know.