The most obvious difference being this year began with me heading over to New Hampshire to remember with my family and her friends my aunt's wonderful life and legacy. My uncle and cousins had intended it to be a celebration of a life well lived and they succeeded! While the day's events had that 'empty seat at the table' sense, it was overall a wonderful day of sharing stories and memories. The day also gave me the chance to catch-up in person with my older brother and cousins from California.
Of the week+ in Maine the memories I will most cherish are:
- Elisabeth and my niece boogie boarding with great enthusiasm and improving skill.
- Liam appearing to be impervious to the cold and he rushed in time and again to the ocean.
- Caitlin's first time staying up late to make s'mores.
- Everyone working hard despite the rain to build a rock wall border.
- Shared Minecraft worlds for the BFFC's
- Caitlin wanting me nearby but NOT holding her hand while she jumped waves.
- Liam and Caitlin's first time playing mini-golf. BTW 18 holes is about 10 too many with a four year old.
- The maturity Lisbeth showed when despite coming down with a painful ear inflection she rested on a bench and let the rest of us outlet shop for a bit.
- Putting Moana on for the kids to watch and having the teenagers appear and stay.
- Massive splash fights in pool between Dr Daddy and the big girls.
- The kids setting up the yard for an eclipse watching party and then each drifting back into the house during until it was only the grown-ups watching.
Familiar places and vacation traditions lend the structure but the kids changing interest and growing abilities gives each year it's distinct moments and memories.