July 21, 2011
Living in Exile
For the past few years, I've found my self living away from home one month out of the year. I pack up the car with all the things I would want or hope to use and do for a month at the beach. We (because I am not alone in this venture all-together) take my two sons to the far end of Long Island–To a place called Amagansett–were we enroll them in camp for a few weeks, and where I spend time working on the various projects I've been dreaming of all year. Some are just the usual home related projects; like fixing up the house and tending the dunes and flowers that have died off or over-grown. Other projects include finishing that book–or just working at it; pulling out the old drawing pad or canvas to sketch on; collage and decoupage the closet door with surf mag images; finally read all those magazines I have collected but never seem to have any time to look through. Among other things.
My husband has to stay in the city and work during the week, while we get this amazing opportunity to live by the sea. But we get him every weekend, and are sad when he has to go back every Sunday night. It seems a charmed life, but it's lonely too. I enjoy company and crave my friends. Luckily every year a few will come visit and stay for a while. In fact this year, the first half of the month the tiny house was filled with laughter and cooking. Friends and family have made their way here, to the very furthest part of the Island.
But now the weeks are quiet. And while I relish in the sound of the sea and whir of the fan, I miss the conversations and company. It takes a few days but I slowly get used to it and start to use the time more wisely; thinking every night before I go to bed about what I'll do the next day. I will drive the kids to camp, play doubles with the old ladies from down the street, write for 2 hours, finish the closet, and then clean the sand out from under the couch, the bed, the rug.... But the day goes by too fast, and I'm off picking up the kids again.
The lovely thing here is that the kids can then go off on their own, riding their bikes around the neighborhood, in relative safety. The new found independence does wonders for them. But it scares me just how fast they are growing. And some days I want to cry because I'm afraid I'm not absorbing it completely. That I'm just taking it all for granted.
I think that's why I have exiled myself. I need this time to myself, and to spend with my kids. Because time will take them away from me, too soon. When it happens, I want to be able to say to myself, I did well, and I was present.