Our Mom would let us know about a day in advance of departure because she knew we'd bug her until her death if she let us in on the plans any sooner. We'd always know, though, just before the day was to come. We'd always get a special dinner; it could have been going to a restaurant or maybe just "our choice" with a Shirley Temple to drink because it had to be special; regularly required milk just wouldn't do.
She'd put us to bed early; departure would be early and not to be a minute late. The best part was that we always hooked up with special friends that joined us on our annual trip. Sometimes, our friends would bunk at our house, so we'd all be together when we left. My brother and I slept in the same room; times were tight, but it was the best! We'd always think and plan about what we'd do when we "got there." We'd dip our feet in the frigid waters with Nubble Lighthouse looking over us, or we would just run, climb on the rocks or beg our mom to hold our hands against the waves and tempt ourselves with venturing into the water... just a bit further than up to our thighs. Our Mom would call in gently, "Go to sleep, now, it's a long drive in the morning." Her words would settle us for the moment, but we'd get so excited again she'd have to come into our room and remind us again to sleep. How could we settle when we knew something so special was about to begin for us?
There was a lot I know now that I didn't know then about our trips, including the reasons for why they would remain in our memories for years to come. You see, she was a single mother, going to nursing school and making due with whatever she could. She always knew just how much we loved the ocean, and she'd always come through for us. Fact was, she loved it just as much as we did.
Mom had a dear friend, Donna. Donna was also a single mom doing the best she could to raise her daughter. The two saw something in each other, a connection and a support system. The 2 of them put our yearly trips together. They always hid the "big secret" until just before we had to know. My memories are filled with visions of running in the sand holding hands with Mom with my brother on the other side. We were so strong and happy there, happier than anywhere else I remember her being. She was without worries there, the worries single moms must have, always nipping, reminding them of the responsibilities they would have back home. For a short time, we were free. The smells of the wind, water, salt in our heads; this was one of the only places I saw my mom smile as big as I have ever seen her smile. This was her place; I knew it even when I was 7 years old. I knew she was happy, thus it became our family's spot.
Don't get me wrong, our childhoods were exceptional. Mom was always springing trips on us or visits to the zoo or nights at a musical she knew would enhance our lives. Always putting us first, always. But Nubble Light was where our family shined.
I haven't been to Nubble Light since 1978. I'm 34 now with a wonderful husband and three absolutely beautiful children. I live in Vermont and want to return to Nubble Light this summer. I want to relive, or come as close as I can to it, with my family. I want them to experience running with the sand between their toes and tip-toeing into the ocean and running from the waves. I want to smile and run with my children hanging onto each hand as fast as we can.
My mom was killed in a car accident in 2000. As a tribute to her and her "special spot," returning to Nubble Light will be a privilege for me. I continue to look for lodging and accommodations for our family. My one wish is to have a family portrait with the lighthouse behind us. It will be a memory for me and a dedication to the memories our mom gave us while we were young.
Story submitted by: Heather
Date submitted: 3/13/04