Our cottage is a true up north, low key cottage. The walls are adorned with an interesting mix of mounted animals. There is no real rhyme to the various types of media used as carpet, flooring, walls, or tiles. They’ve all been added or upgraded as it’s undergone various expansions, owners, and fixes. This tiny space is maxed out in terms of comfort and serene views. Cozy couches for post-lake-day activities, all of which allow you to keep your sights set on the water. There are functional necessities, with an inspired, historical (as in, history of our 30 years of ownership) feel. You don’t go to the cottage and leave thinking it lacks anything, other than maybe a second bathroom.
What never changes at the cottage is a true sense of both home and adventure - something so very much influenced by my mom. In fact, one thing that she’s done so well over the course of having the cottage in the family is continuously pushing us to focus on not staying within its walls. Lake-mom knows the importance of rest, but once you’re rested, you better be seizing the lake day.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t always like to be at the cottage without my lake-dad, and that’s equally true for lake-mom. Her spirit is different at the cottage, and that’s probably something I’ve picked up on and replicated in my own approach to (and love of) being by the water.
Normally a bit more reserved, Mom is quick to turn up the fun, the silliness, the sense of adventure. She taught me to be brave, stop overanalyzing, and to instead go for whatever presented itself that day. I was often a somewhat timid (I might be the only one who saw me that way...) child, and at the lake she encouraged my creativity and bravery by providing ideas and opportunities for me to constantly overcome what was causing my anxiety.
She’d pull us behind the boat for hours by tube. She’d cheer us on from the boat as we attempted to ski. She’d hop in the boat out in the middle of the night to catch a meteor shower. She’d partake in the air mattress Olympics. She’s happy to haul, split, and stack wood for the fire. She pack the cooler for a happy hour cruise. She plans the menu to be as quick, delicious, and outdoor-centric as possible: crockpot, grill, or bust! If it’s a beautiful day and we’re out of provisions, being the selfless saint she is, she’ll make that quick trip to town to restock what’s needed. She’s the first to spot any eagles. She’s the first to bust out any campfire song. And more important than I realize, I can count on her for the SPF.
She taught me to be flexible - a rainy day is an opportunity not to be bummed out but to try something new. Go-karts, exploring a new town, or simply putting the bimini top over the boat and staying on the water. In fact, one of my favorite memories includes a wildly powerful summer rainstorm swim (no thunder, we promise).
Lately, she’s always been ready to contribute to the party. As high-stress lifestyles take their toll on our mental and emotional health, we look to the cottage to recharge, get re-inspired and to let loose a bit. So when I need a partner in crime, she’s happy to indulge, as time away from responsibilities means finally time for her to unwind, too. She’s a dedicated helper to her mother, the support system to SO MANY people and their pursuits, she’s Lake Effect Co’s order fulfillment department and editor (THANK YOU X A MILLION), needy pup Eddie’s Mom, loving wife and obviously, Mom.
While it’s really only now that I see this coming full circle, it’s apparent that I’m trying to give her what she’s given me: a packed cooler for happy hours (always happy to fix her a cocktail), ideas for adventures and encouragement to take them, SPF in my bag, and the little nudges she may need to focus on the beauty around us.
Thank you Mom, this Mother’s Day, and EVERY DAY for all you’ve done and all you continue to do to make the lake and life so very special. Love you to the lake, moon and back...a gazillion times.
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