I was super-excited to participate in my first 20SB blog swap... like, I think I was literally the first person to sign up, because my name was at the top of the partner list they sent out.
We were supposed to e-mail our partner right away, and let 20SB know if we didn't get a response. My partner e-mailed me right away... to say that her computer power cord was broken and she wouldn't be getting a new one until the end of this week, so she was bowing out.
I let 20SB know I needed a new partner. On Monday they e-mailed out the new partners for the 10 or so of us whose original partners bailed. I e-mailed my new partner right away to say I'd send my post Tuesday night. No response. I sent my post to her last night as promised. Still no response.
So now it's almost the end of the blog swap day and I haven't heard anything from my partner, nor has my post been posted on her blog. Tons of people are posting all over 20SB and Twitter about how much they loved swapping blogs today and what great partners they had. So I'm kind of sad.
Anyway, rather than letting my post go to waste, I figured I might as well post it here. So here is my post on the blog swap theme of "summer."
---Twelve years ago, I took a vacation with my family. Like many other vacations, we were flying to Washington State to see the relatives we’d left when we moved five years earlier. Unlike previous years, we'd be driving our rental car a few hours east to spend a week in a cabin on a lake, joining my aunt, uncle, their four kids, and a group of other families from their church who went every summer.
As with every trip to Washington, I was excited to see my cousin who was 11 months younger. She had been my best friend growing up. We had even made up a word -- "fruzin" -- to describe someone who was both a friend and a cousin. Every visit meant sleepovers and staying up late to swap every detail of our lives with each other.
On that trip, though, to my disappointment, my 12-year-old cousin didn't feel like introducing me and keeping me included in her church group. She spent most of the time off playing with her friends while I hung awkwardly around the adults. I spent a lot of time with her 7-year-old sister.
This summer my family planned to go back to the lake with my relatives, and my husband Mike and I decided to join them. I was nervous. I had bad memories and feelings associated with the last visit. Would we be outsiders again? My cousin is now married and has an 8-month-old daughter -- would she have other mommy friends in the group that she preferred to spend time with?
Instead, this summer's trip went better than I could have ever imagined.
There were a smaller number of church families than in previous years, and our group -- my family, my aunt and uncle's family, and my other uncle and aunt's family who stayed at a neighboring lake and came by for dinner each night -- ended up making up about half of the total group.
With such a big group of us and only so much room in my uncle's boat, there were always people around to play card games or board games with. I spent a lot of time just hanging out and laughing with my cousins. I also brought five books and got through almost all of them by the end of the week -- nobody cared if I just wanted to sit around and read.
Mike dove right in and made friends with several of the other families there, doing a crossword with one older woman, then teaching euchre to another couple and their daughter. He tried tubing and wakeboarding and made good friends with my cousin's husband. One day he took my aunt and uncle's dog on a hike.
My cousin ended up staying in their cabin a lot, either to play with her daughter or keep an ear out while she was napping, which meant I had a lot of time to catch up with her. We talked about marriage and children, about work, about books. There weren't many people our age there, as they've all got their own jobs and families and vacation schedules now. I had more time with her than I've had in years.
And all I could think was: I have arrived.
This is what being an adult means. I'm happy to give up the summer-long vacations I had as a kid when I was insecure, lonely, and easily hurt. Much better to carve out a week of vacation days away from work where I can do whatever I want -- read, talk, play games, go tubing, just relax -- and be perfectly content.
Mike has already said he wants to go back next summer. I can't wait!