One of my favorite old fairy tales is the one about the old farmer who goes to a wise man for advice because of how small his house is. The wise man tells him to move all his cows into the house. After a week the farmer goes back to the wise man and complains that the house is now smaller than ever. The wise man tells him to go home and move ALL his farm animals into the house. At the end of the week, he is almost at his wits end when he goes back to the wise man. This time the wise man tells him, to his shock, that he is to move all of his children and his children’s children into the house, and to come back in a week. By now the old farmer is beside himself. Now the wise man tells him to move everything out, all of his children, their children, all his farm animals, and all his cows, AND to come back in a week. When he comes back a week later, he tells the wise man how amazingly smart he must be because now his house is huge. He and his wife live happily ever after.
I am sure you’re wondering what that has to do with me. Well, our cottage at the Cape, which was my grandmother’s, and was built by her mother, for my grandmother, grandfather, and their two children, is a very small structure. It has no ceilings, no heat, three small bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a decent-sized living room. Its best feature is a big, screened-in, porch. For four people, it is more than enough room. For six people, it’s tight. But all summer long, we have many many more than six. I don’t want you to think that I don’t love all the company, because I do. But to say we all have luxurious accommodations would definitely be a myth.
We have a wonderful time when everyone is here and we are bursting at the seams. Nothing takes the place of good friends, great family, and the best of summer memories.
So when I think of the old man, and how his house got bigger and bigger and bigger, it makes me laugh, because I know exactly how he felt. I never think of our cottage as either too big or too small. But, when Malcolm and I, McKinley and Sebastian, are suddenly alone, our small cottage seems plenty big enough for just the four of us.
I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with you. I’m sure that many of you are experiencing the same type of thing. Lots of family. Lots of friends. All coming to share your summer with you. But I want to tell you, that although it is hectic, and perhaps frenetic, those days are what memories are made of. So sit back, relax, and if you need a little alone time? Go in the bathroom and shut the door. Nobody will bother you there!
So from Cape Cod, from the Reiss family and the extended family, we hope you are having a wonderful summer. See you all when the leaves start to turn.