This is at least the fifth year we’ve spent a week at Smith Mountain Lake with Tom’s family. It’s a summer tradition now — we’ve done this every year since Tom and I got married. Except I can’t really remember the first years, the years before we had kids. Now there isn’t much relaxing, recharging, gourmet meals, or staying up late chatting under the stars. Now it’s about packing as much fun into every single minute from 6 a.m. (our optimistic wake-up call) until bedtime. We have four kids under the age of four. Things get rowdy.
We had a weird week. It was the middle of August and it rained the first four days and the rest of the week was overcast and cool. Plus, almost everyone got sick. Vacation included three runny noses, one ear infection, a prescription for Amoxicillin, and two kids and three adults ran fevers. None of those things really scream “summer vacation”.
Even with all the odds stacked against us, we did not sing “Rain, Rain, Go Away” even one time. Instead, because toddlers are like dogs — they can smell fear — we looked at the clouds and put on a brave face. Instead of being bested by the weather, the adults formed an alliance. We were flexible, creative, and optimistic. We read books, built giant forts in the living room, worked puzzles, and wrapped up in blankets and cuddled our sick babies.
We packed the kids up and took them on trips to experience several of Franklin County’s non-lake tourist attractions. We visited the Booker T. Washington National Monument, and we hung out with the goats and enjoyed the good food at the Homestead Creamery. And when we saw big trucks in the parking lot, we flexed our muscles and took photos.
And because it just wouldn’t do to stay inside all the time, at least once a day we braved the rain and took the kids down to the dock. When you think about it, staying out of the water because it’s raining doesn’t make much sense. After all, if you’re swimming then you can’t be but so worried about getting wet.
Occasionally someone would peek out the window and spot a ray of sun breaking through the clouds. And when that happened, we made a group announcement, and everyone ran outside to celebrate.