Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Big Trip to Lake George

Have you ever had something you wanted to write about or share or blog, but you couldn't because it was just too big? No matter how carefully you choose your words or how beautiful your photos, you simply can't recapture the moment because it was so...much.

For me, our week in Lake George was that big. Big, certainly, because upstate New York is a very long way from Southwestern Utah, especially when traveling in a minivan. According to googlemaps, the roundtrip journey is 4911 miles and 79 hours of drive time. Add in three munchkins and up to four adults, and I assure you the trip is even longer. But that's not what I mean by big.

Perhaps "big" is filling a lake home with our family of five, my parents, my sister and her husband, my aunt and her daughter, my grandpa, his wife, my sister-in-law, her husband, her brother-in-law, not to mention my aunt and uncle who own the house, their four children, and two golden retrievers. That's certainly big and somewhat closer, although still not quite what I mean.

Squeezing everyone around the dining room table--quite a feat!
For me, "big" is expansive, significant, that which completes or makes whole. Instead of being quantifiable by large numbers, "big" is felt and measured in the heart. While the individual moments may have all been small and relatively inconsequential, the sum total of spending this week with family on beautiful Lake George was enormous.

Judging by the numbers, you'd imagine our week in Lake George was crazy and chaotic, bubbling over with noise and excitement. In reality, quite the opposite was true. Standing beside the deep blue calm of the lake and its green mountains, I found peace, stillness, and rejuventation. A snippet from my journal explains it best:

August 6, 2012

It’s been a long time since I’ve journaled at a computer instead of composing a blogpost. In a way, it’s nice to be free from the pressure of a “Publish” button. So much has happened, and yet at the moment it feels like nothing has changed. I’m sitting on the porch at Lake George on a perfectly still morning with the sun shining in, the lake as smooth as glass. Ducks are swimming past, and the house is completely quiet. Inside the lake house, little has changed. Same dark wood paneling, same wicker chairs, same giant dining room table, same friendly faces.

And yet all the same, everything has changed. It’s been seventeen years since the last time Callie and I were here together. We’ve both graduated from high school, graduated from college, traveled internationally, and married wonderful spouses. Instead of she and I being the teenagers tending the Wells munchkins, the wheel has turned completely. Our baby cousins are now the teenage angels watching my own children all day long. Brooklyn and Talia have morphed into water bugs who jump in the lake first thing in the morning and soak all day long, hopping out only long enough to eat or go for a boat ride. Eli is Alesia’s personal leech, gleefully feasting on her attention until someone manages to pry him off for moment. It’s a good thing I’m Mom, or else I’d never get a hug.

As the journal suggests, during my growing-up years our family spent some precious summer days on Lake George with my Uncle Jay, Aunt Janet, and their sweet family. It was on Lake George that I first learned to water ski, snorkel, and thanks to an extremely patient uncle, fish. The weathered yellow lake house has always held a special place in my memory--I'm so grateful for the chance to pass a piece of this memory onto the next generation.


Any conversation about Lake George rightly begins with my Uncle Jay and Aunt Janet. After all, without their generosity, we wouldn't have a house to crash. If I have my stories right, when Jay took Janet to Lake George for the very first time, they camped on one of the islands, traveling there on his old boat, the Alley Cat. There are countless stories about the Alley Cat and its multitude of breakdowns; on this journey, the boat actually worked, but only in reverse. What a sight to see them navigating the whole way--backwards!

While Jay and Janet now prefer their lake house to camping, the sight of Uncle Jay working on the boat always remains the same.

Success! Here's Jay at his rightful spot behind the helm.
Power washing the sailboat.
The jet ski almost started working. No matter--we had plenty of other toys.
Pictures of Janet are more elusive, partly because she's often behind the camera. However, you can still see Janet everywhere in the faces of her beautiful children. Here's Janet with Katelyn, her six, I mean sixteen year-old. When did that happen? When Jason and I first came to Long Island to work with Jay and Janet, this little girl hadn't even started first grade. I'm glad to know that even teenagers can still appreciate a little snuggle from Mom.
(Blurbs from Eli while watching over my shoulder: I wanna go to Janet's house. I see more pictures of Nettie. More pictures!)

While there is so much more to say and many more photos to show, I'll take a pause because anything else would just be, well, too big.

1 comment:

Julie L said...

Big trips are hard to post - this one looks like a wonderful epic kind of thing for your family. Looking forward to the rest of the stories. You certainly can't do it in one day, for sure. Just getting ready to fly out to that area ourselves. Notice the word "fly." To drive it would be phenomenal. To have the time to drive it would be phenomenal. Glad you got to.