A Special Place

We returned from our family vacation “Up North” a little over a week ago now, and I wanted to share a little something here about our time away.

What I was really hoping to do is write something during vacation and post it from Mackinaw City. The beach house we rented outside of town doesn’t have Wi-Fi (a blessing when you’re trying to unplug), so my grandiose plan was to rise early before my husband, kids, and the sun and do a little writing out in one of the adirondack chairs on the back deck while facing the lapping waves of Lake Michigan…slowly watching the sun start to illuminate the grass, then sand, then water, as its soft glow expanded from east to west. Then I’d pack up my laptop, throw on a baseball cap, and run (not actually) into town to the 3-story Starbucks and luxuriate in the warm and sweet froth of my frou-frou latte while logging in to post what I’d written. And then I’d somehow sneak back to the beach house before everyone else awoke. Mommy rules!

Ha! How idyllic that sounds. And how naive I unswervingly remain despite my continual failure to accomplish anything remotely resembling these daydreams. If there were an award for over-inflated expectations, I would be the champion!

Also, let’s face it: I’m not a morning person. I keep filling my head with these cute and quaint scenarios of “making the most” of a quiet hour or two before the candor and chaos of the kids waking up, but the fact of the matter is, two things make the possibility of the aforementioned scenario highly unlikely:

  • My 3-year-old is a bonafide Pop-tart. (Translation: she literally “pops” up out of bed by 6 a.m., give or take, raring to go, and chattery as hell, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.)
  • I am a night-owl. Rarely do I fall asleep before midnight. My brain usually pops on at about 9 p.m. and goes places I wish it would leave for tomorrow right when I’m trying to wind down for the evening.

So, for the sake of comparison, it’s really only fair to describe an actual typical morning while we were on vacation:

“Mommy, I awake!!!”

Little feet pad across the bedroom floor. Lily has let herself into the master bedroom at the beach house. As I groan inwardly, I’m suddenly re-thinking our bright idea to leave that wicker chair next to the ungodly-high full-size bed in the bedroom next to ours (where Lil’s been sleeping) so that she doesn’t knock herself out while climbing down.

She starts grunting and struggling to pull herself up onto our also-higher-than-normal bed, grasping at the duvet and pulling it off me. I’m already shivering from the breeze blowing in off the Lake from the open windows, which I’ve been too lazy to get up and close. The blast of cold is a bit shocking as I struggle to pull the duvet back around myself.

I hungry!Can I play your tablet?We should go downstairs now!Can you make pancakes?I gotta go potty!Will you read me this book?Are we going to the island today?Mommy, your hair looks CRAZY right now!” A million questions and declarations spill forth from her mouth all at once.

I groan and turn over, trying to block little fingers from poking at my eyes, nose, cheeks…wherever she can try to peck at and get me to acknowledge her presence and open my eyes.

Drew groans and turns over. “Shhh!” he says, then returns to snoring.

I reach for my tablet to let her play games while I try to grab a few more winks, but I knock my journal off the nightstand in the process. Guilt ensues. I groan again. Oh yeah, I was going to get up and WRITE this morning. Hahahahaha…the best laid plans…

So much for that.

In all seriousness, though, our vacation was really great. Idyllic morning aspirations aside, I think we all had a nice mix of just-relaxing-on-the-beach days and getting-out-and-about-to-explore days. I was joking with a friend before we left that vacation for us = moving the whining and fighting approximately 4 hours north for the week, and while that is still absolutely a true statement, we desperately needed, and benefited from, a change of scenery and schedule for the week.

The scenery, by the way? Can you believe this view? I never, ever got tired of it.





Inspiring, isn’t it?

So inspiring, in fact, that this is the place that originally spurred the idea for The Sunlit Path two years ago. There really is something about the tranquility and beauty of this place that makes just about anything seem possible. The spark of an idea for a combined writing space slowly evolved and took shape during that first year after our joint family vacation, and last year at this time we went live, sharing The Sunlit Path with our family and friends. Although our lives don’t allow us to write here nearly as often as our hearts desire, we are so grateful for this space, and for you…our readers!

We missed having Kate and her family join us at the beach house this year, but as vacation drew nearer, it became quite clear that Kate would need to stick close to home in an effort to keep Baby Stella tucked safely inside her for as long as possible. #stayputstella

The beach house, and the Mackinac area in general, will always hold a special place in our hearts, both for the memories we made there during our first extended stay two years ago, and now because of new memories we made this year as a family.



Written by Ember

Wife and mother of 2 girls. Bookworm. Coffee addict. Lover of shoes. Killer of most plants. I write for a living, and live for writing.

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