Friday, June 11, 2010

Third Annual Lake House Reunion

Reba, Kat and I at the lake house in 2008...

Three years ago I ventured to a lake house in Indiana with three friends from college. I had graduated two years before, Josie had graduated a year later, and Reba and Kat were still a year out. Kat's parents own a quaint house on a quiet lake complete with a boat, jet skis and chocolates on your pillow. Her mom has truly made hospitality an art. I learned to water ski, and shared about my first year of marriage. We chatted for hours, enjoying the solace from the busy lives we lead.

Last year, in the midst of conflicting summer schedules, we made it out again. We shared grilled chicken and glasses of wine in the evening air, hilly runs around the lake in the morning sunshine and strained necks after Kat's dad was determined to throw us from the tubes as we circled the lake. It had been another year: Josie had married, Reba and Kat had graduated, and I was training for my first marathon. We talked of hopes and plans and dreams. We pushed each other into the lake and wrapped ourselves in blankets to watch reruns of Friends. We danced in the privacy of the house to get warm enough to go outside and brave the rain. We woke early and ran the lake.

This year, against all odds, we managed to fit the tradition back in the schedule--after all, we are the wedding party. Reba is getting married tomorrow, and is then moving out West for graduate school. Kat flew in from Colorado, and I postponed a move. And for the first year ever, it was sunny when we got there.

It's amazing how much things can change in two years. By the end of the month, three of us will be married, three will be living West of the Missisippi, and two have completed graduate degrees and all have started careers. As we lay on the dock enjoying the quiet sunshine I was overcome with how quickly things change. For so many years our lives follow the rhythms of school, and then in an instant they take a course of their own, shifting with degrees and marriages and moves.

Around dinner last night we sat with Kat's mom as she shared her advice from twenty-five years of marriage. We laughed, but listened intently, appreciating her candid reflections on lessons learned. Later on the dock I asked Kat if it is funny to hear marriage advice from her mom. "It is" she said "because I don't think of my parents as having a marriage in the same way that I will."

Somewhere, in the process of becoming an adult, we realize that we are here, experiencing life in the same way that our parents and grandparents and so many others already have. It is not a new thing, and the cycle will continue long after we pass.

When we'd returned from the lake to "wedding central", home of Josie and Reba, home of many memories from college days past, there were flowers and votives and notes everywhere. I made directional posters for the church and typed scripture to be read at the ceremony. Later Josie and I sorted through all sorts of options for Reba's dance with her father at the reception. As we played the determined song for Reba's mom, tears formed in my eyes as I watched them roll down her cheeks.

"Yes", I found myself thinking, "We are here. Another daughter will marry and move across the country, and all the details of flowers and candles and songs will fade into a hazy memory of times when we were young."

As we sat around the kitchen table painting finger and toe nails as the lace curtains shuddered with the evening breeze, I could do little more than quietly take it in. I loved it so much.

Will we make it again next year? I hope we do, but the truth is that none of us can know. The only thing that is certain is that we will continue to move forward with life and love and careers and relationships. For now I will fall asleep in the company of good freinds, listening to the crickets that sprinkle the nearby farm land, reveling in the friendships that have blessed me richly--whether they are near or far.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god, I LOVED this post so much !! It reminded me of my own summer reunions with my best girls - we meet each summer in the UK (because they are all Scottish girls - I'm the odd American out!) for a week of hiking coastal paths but for the past few years, in addition to a few days' walking, we've met there for weddings, too - mine included - and we're meeting there again this summer for yet another wedding and walking week!

    Each year I worry that it's the last year. I fear that in the upcoming year, we'll be too far flung to meet up but fortunately, we've managed to keep up the tradition despite me living here, one of us moving to Abu Dhabi, and another living in Switzerland. We even met up in London this past February, which was amazing.

    So, I keep the hope light burning, particularly now that I'm pregnant and fear having a baby will deter our get togethers, which are SO important to me. These moments with my friends are so blessed and knowing you are experiencing one of your own right now makes my heart full of joy. We are truly soul sistas!