Where we’re at: I’m recapping my travels in 2019, including this time at our family home in Martha’s Vineyard in August.
It feels like I’ve been blogging about summer of 2019 forever and well, considering our circumstances, it turned out to be a busy one. Between work and weddings, I was on-the-go more than I’d been all year. Which meant the quiet weeks when we were at home in Albany or on Martha’s Vineyard felt more special than ever.
By August, when we made our last trip out to the Vineyard, my mom was in the late stages of her battle with brain cancer. We were all searching hard for joy, and this was one place we always know we can find some glimmer of it.
And while she wasn’t able to really communicate with us well, we hoped it did for her too.
We had a familiar routine, there. Our sweet island caretaker would come over in the morning and give us a third set of hands while we took turns tapping out to work and get out of the house for a bit of exercise.
Ian soon joined us, and we swapped my fancy fitness classes around the island for jogs up to the East Chop lighthouse with a few strength circuits on the way (better for August anyway, when traffic and parking get crazy.)
In the evenings, we’d sit out on the porch and watch the world go by, or stroll down to the harbor to watch the sunset.
One very special night, the whole clan descended for the 150th anniversary of Illumination, the most magical night of the year in Oak Bluffs.
It’s so special, and has been so sadly under-reported here on Alex in Wanderland, that I have a full post on the subject coming up tomorrow.
In addition to writing blog content, planning and marketing my retreats, and all the other work tasks I was juggling at the time, I was refreshed by a fun creative challenge — several product shoots. And seriously, how lucky was I to have this island as my backdrop?
First, a collaboration with my bestie Amy of Amy Jennifer Jewellery (spelled the British way!), who I’ve interviewed here before, and who I teamed up with for an Instagram giveaway.
Next up, Leaf Shave, a company I was over the moon to work with after proactively pitching them myself. I’m always working to be a more eco-friendly consumer, and pass anything I love on to all of you.
This is definitely one of those cases — I was really proud.
And finally, my year-long Instagram partnership with KIND, one of the opportunities I’m grateful came my way as a result of being stateside for the year.
Halfway through our time on the Vineyard, Ian and I went to Boston for a night so that I could go to the passport office and so we could have some time alone together before his flight the next morning out of Logan International.
It was an emotional goodbye — perhaps better touched on in my next roundup.
Back on the island, I had the perfect distraction to throw myself into: my nephew’s first Vineyard visit.
Kirsten is more like a sister to me than a cousin and so I’m ashamed to say it was our first time meeting her little man in person. (By the way I looked it up and apparently technically this kid is my “first cousin once removed.” Well, I’m calling him my nephew. So there.)
We were itching to meet Beckett since he came into the world on New Year’s Day, but it took us until August to get the whole family under one roof. And lucky we have this little guy’s whole life to make up for our absence in the first eight months of it!
We missed many milestones but all my aunt-guilt was wiped away when we got to share an amazing milestone: Beckett’s first beach trip. Can you think of a bigger honor for me? As you can see, he totally loved it. Ha.
Most of the time, we all just rolled around at home. It was a different kind of Vineyard vacation, with almost all the highlights taking place around the dining room table.
But mostly, wow, did it mean the world to all of us that Beckett got to meet my mom. My mom and Kirsten always shared an incredible bond, and getting to meet her long-awaited first born was overwhelmingly emotional. My mom wasn’t responsive to much as this point, but her eyes lit up when she saw that sweet baby.
As did mine. Family is precious. I can’t wait to travel the world with this lil guy someday.
In the meantime — what a fun new toy.
When the family headed home, Miller and I found ourselves feeling restless one day and ambitiously aimed for an outing. It was always a regret of mine that I hadn’t visited the original location of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Edgartown, and so when they opened a new, wheelchair accessible version in Vineyard Haven, we decided to check it out right away.
It’s my new rainy day recommendation go-to. It’s beautifully designed, well-sized (read: not overwhelming) and touches on so many fascinating facets of Vineyard life and history.
I’m really grateful we did this. Sometimes we got so bogged down in the day to day of care taking, we just didn’t have one ounce left for outings like this. So it’s one of those small memories I’ll cherish.
You know, so many times I said to myself, this is our last trip to Martha’s Vineyard together as a family. And this time, I was right.
But I am starting to see that my mom gave us the gift of a family that she lives on through, and a place where we can always come to be together and remember that bond.
May we gather there again soon.
Thank you mom, for our happy place.