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Saturday, July 19, 2014

WHERE TIME STANDS STILL


By the time this Blog is published, we will be in Kennebunkport, Maine for our 15th summer in a row.  I can scarcely believe it has been that long.  It seems like just yesterday we were packing Baby Christian into his carseat to come up here for the first time, but in fact, that was 2001. Neither of our kids can remember a time when they didn’t go to Maine for part of the Summer.  I often blog about the importance of creating and maintaining traditions for your kids and grandkids.  It’s more than just a fun thing to do, it’s actually a building block for raising happy and successful adults.  (A great read if you have time is "The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness,” by Dr. Edward Hallowell). 

There have been a lot of changes over the years but some things about our trip to Maine have remain steadfast traditions.

The first summer we came up to Kennebunkport, we only stayed for a long weekend.  We were still building our careers and I was only working part-time, so it was a financial stretch for us to come to such a “fancy” place.   We ended up falling in love with the beautiful, pristine beaches of Kennebunkport, and the sleepy, quaint New England village where cars actually STOP when you're in the crosswalk and life moves at about the pace of fictional Mayberry.  We vowed to come back every year.  We came home, learned to cut coupons, collect our loose change and started a vacation club account.

By the time Michael was born, in 2004, we were able to rent a house a few blocks from the beach.  Michael was just 5 months old when he first came to Maine.  Christian towed him around in a little red flexible flyer wagon, that we used for many years.  That was the year I forgot to pack Michael’s clothes and had to run out to the mall two towns over just to clothe him (hey, everybody makes mistakes!).

Over the past 15 years we started our own law firm and have other businesses, we have both worked very hard, lived modestly, and God has blessed us with success.  We now go up to Kennebunkport for a week and a half and rent a house with a private beach.  The first thing we do when we arrive is park the car, pile out and head straight to the ocean just to feel the waves at our feet and our toes in the sand, there's nothing quite like it.

Every summer, the first thing I do is make a grocery run, which is necessary with all rental houses.  I started out being able to walk into town to the village grocery store with the red wagon and haul back enough food for the week.  At some point, I had to move on to driving to the Supermarket one town over.  Now, I take one of the boys and head for the nearest Sam’s Club; it's four towns over, but it’s well worth the trip.  We pretend we live here and eat almost every meal right at the kitchen table or on the back porch facing the ocean.  Anthony grills up burgers or chicken, and I make the fixins’.  Sometimes we will walk into town after dinner for ice cream or knick knack shopping but usually we just sit and watch the waves roll in.

Our days are pretty simple -- we spend them at the beach.  We might squeeze in a trip to the Boardwalk or the waterparks but in general, the kids spend pretty much the whole day boogie boarding, body surfing and building sand castles.  The first time Christian was able to boogie board on his own was a major victory, complete with hundreds of photos and videos.  Anthony and I used to go in the waves to “lifeguard” him.  Now Christian is the “lifeguard” and takes Michael out to boogie board.  One summer, my heart was in my throat as I watched Michael go INTO a wave and not come out right away; I didn’t see my older son either.  But that was because Christian had gone in to retrieve him.  Michael was able to swim back on his own with Christian kind of pushing him from behind.  Five minutes later they were both back boogie boarding like nothing had happened.  

We only eat at one restaurant -- we make an annual trek into town to Bartley’s Dockside Restaurant where they serve the best lobster in town, the only dessert on the menu is Mrs. B’s homemade blueberry pie, and the owner always comes out to greet us.  Every year, we include a trip to the old-fashioned candy store and to the book store in town.  We have also made an annual tradition out of renting kayaks and paddling the Kennebunk River together. 

This is really the only 10 days of the year that we truly relax, unwind, and connect again as a family; just the four of us, with Nana and Pop Pop always coming up to stay in a B & B for a few days and join us on the beach.  It’s time together that we look forward to all year.  Okay, I think it might be fair to say we live for our time in Maine.  

Of course, time will march on when we get back -- there will be Summer Rowing Camp, Freshman football starting in August, and theatre academy at Just Off Broadway for Michael.  I will be busy getting ready for Michael's return to Bishop Dunn and Christian's freshman year at Don Bosco Prep.

But none of that will matter for the 10 days that we are at our idyllic beach house in Maine.  For that wonderful, magical period, Time won’t just slow down, it will stand still.

Have lots of fun this summer creating your own Summer traditions, whether it’s time at the beach, camping, backyard campfires, or outings at the park.  And, as always, remember to Count Your Blessings!  <3 Mrs. Lo 
For more of the Mrs. Lo Blog, go to www.Facebook.com/LoBiondoLaw (photo of the LoBiondo boys in Kennebunkport, Summer 2013)