Saturday, July 19, 2008

Green Mountain State of Mind

Ah Vermont.
Every time I have the good fortune to go to our family house in the Green Mountains, I feel nothing but blessed. We have had the house on French Hollow Road in Winhall, VT since 1973. Just the fact that a boy from working class Brooklyn (my Dad) (whose Russian immigrant parents might only have thought of skiing as a fast way to flee angry cossacks) thought of buying a ski house in Vermont is truly amazing. He and my mother had the vision to find a place to get us away from New York and into the country side. They weren't nature buffs, they just had a feeling that it would bring us closer as a family. With no TV, a party-line phone and lots of games to keep us entertained, we thrived there on weekends and fell in love with the place.

Our little ski house with the ten bunk beds upstairs has expanded a bit since those early days. They have renovated the house to the north, south, east and west, adding a master suite, screened porch, two car garage and a lovely new basement suite built with me Jeff and Phoebe in mind. It was there that we retreated from the city this July 4th week to spend some time away and at leisure.

We were joined by my parents, my Aunt Judy and Uncle Jerry and Jeff's son Michael. The weather was warm and the heat made us happily lazy. We didn't do a lot other than see friends and hang out and take walks on our country road. We attended a July 4th celebration at the temple and caught up with all our Vermont friends. Phoebe was a star, as always, charming everyone in her American flag dress, a true Amercian girl now on her first Independance Day holiday.

15 Year old Michael was just great with Phoebe. They seem to have a real connection. At one point in the weekend, I heard him tell a friend on the phone, "Phoebe is my little sister. Technically, practically." That just filled me with love and warmth for him. I had often wondered how Michael would process this new person in his life. I had hoped he would come to think of her as a sister, but the fact that he got there himself endears me to him even further. He is a great kid going through some hard stuff and managing it all in his own way. We are lucky to have him in our lives.

It took us a good week to get back into Phoebe's sleep groove when we returned to New York. I hadn't realized I might have to endure 'sleep training' again, but as soon as I let her cry it out a couple of nights she fell back into her good sleep habits, giving us all the rest we need too. Either way, Vermont is worth the trip every time.