At the beginning of this month, we packed up the dogs, Daisy, all her medical equipment &
our summer wardrobes and headed to New England. Our first stop was to visit my dad in Boston’s South End. Affectionately known as “Pops”, my Dad is responsible for outfitting Daisy’s entire nursery with furniture & a growing library of the best children’s books ever written and a wardrobe that puts mine, frankly, to shame. He has excellent taste in clothes and literature, fortunately, for our young beneficiary - but even luckier for her, he has a special place in his very big heart for his first grandchild. His eyes light up for Daisy in a way I haven’t seen them sparkle for a long time. It is such a joy for me to watch them together - my Dad was a really extraordinary father to me and seeing him with Daisy is like looking back into the past at him with me as a baby. At 6’3’’, my Dad is not small in stature, so watching this large man handle a tiny little girl with such tenderness is heartwarming. The way they interact is so lovely - he sat with her for endless amounts of time helping her press the buttons on her little piano toy and seemed just as delighted as she was when the keys lit up and a new song played. Dad has always been my biggest fan - making me feel (and thus, sometimes believe I am) brilliant, resilient, beautiful and witty - and I can already see that he is a very big fan of Daisy.
While we were in Boston, we spent time with some of our best friends and got to introduce lots of folks to Daisy - and we met some of our friends’ new babies too - Vivian, Jaxon & Maeve! We are so appreciative of everyone who made the time to come and see us while we swung through town. We miss our Boston friends on a daily basis and seeing all of your happy faces in one room passing around our daughter was a real treat - as I said to many of you, it felt like it was my birthday or Christmas!
After Boston, we headed north to Goose Rocks Beach, a beautiful, secluded beach a few miles from Kennebunkport, Maine where my family vacationed every year since I was a baby. My mom rented a little cottage one street from the beach for a week as a baby gift of sorts and it was absolutely wonderful. After a tumultuous year, we really needed a little time away and this was just what the doctor ordered.
Goose Rocks is such a calming place - nearly 3 miles of soft white sand beach, gentle waves and peaceful quiet. There is nothing commercial anywhere near GRB, save the General Store, which supplies beachgoers with sunscreen and sandwiches, penny candy and last-minute forgotten groceries like milk and eggs. The homes dotting the beach have been owned and occupied by the same families for generations. In the mornings, the sidewalk along the beach is filled with the smell of bacon and blueberry pancakes wafting from the open windows of each shuttered, sun-washed cottage. At twilight, families play scrabble on their porches while lobsters cook and in the evening, the beach sparkles with bonfires over which people are toasting marshmallows and telling stories. It is quintessential New England and precisely what an all-American summer vacation should be.
Needless to say, this is the first of many, many, many summers at Goose Rocks for Daisy, and we were so lucky to share it with my mom and brother. Daisy loved being at the beach. While she appeared to be indifferent when her toes were dipped in the not-exactly-warm Atlantic ocean, she was VERY content to be snuggled under an umbrella by her Mamie while her parents played catch on the sand and got some much needed Vitamin D. We spent a day in Portland with Uncle Fred, who took us rock-climbing (REALLY fun!), we walked around downtown Kennebunkport which is a charming village a few miles from the beach, we cooked a lot and ate some really amazing lobster. We couldn't be more grateful to my mom for making this vacation possible for us. It was every bit what I'd dreamed for Daisy's first summer vacation and first memories at Goose Rocks Beach. Love you mom!
On our way home from Maine, we stopped for a night in Boston and had a lovely dinner with Pops, my Aunt Kathy and my Uncle Chris, who have been Big Daisy Fans since she was in the womb. They loved her and she, them. Seeing the Casales took the sting out of vacation’s end, thankfully. While I drove us back to Philadelphia with a really heavy heart, I am comforted by the promise of summers yet to come at Goose Rocks Beach - and all the memories that lie ahead for our little family.