Summer Traditions

Happy Friday!! Linking up with Alissa @ Clever Compass today for her Friday 5!

Today’s topic? Summer Traditions. 
Truth be told, I am an autumn/winter fan myself. I live in Michigan for many reasons: but the seasons are definitely up there. 
Sure, there are things I do enjoy about summer. I do try to embrace every moment, and right now: summer is everywhere, so I better snap off my Negative Nancy hat and get over football season still being months away! 
I could probably list 100 things about my favorite summer tradition, but I will do my best to narrow it down to 5 today. 
My family cottage on Lake Michigan has always been a constant in my life. Every 4th of July, my family would make the trek up there for the annual family reunion, sometimes just for the day, occasionally, if we were lucky, for an entire week. Here are 5 reasons why my family cottage means the world to me.
My people. 
You know how there are people you simply click with? I definitely have that with the hubs. I have a handful of close friends I feel that way with too… if you are lucky, you have family members you feel that way with.

They love you unconditionally & not only accept who you are, but celebrate it. Believe me, I can’t say that about every single family member in my life. Hell, I can’t even say that about every friend in my life!

My family cottage was built by my great-great-grandfather on my dad’s side. My dad’s mother’s grandfather. At least, I think it’s that many greats? I should know these things. 

Because of this cottage, I know that side of my family very well. Down to 3rd & 4th cousins. Every time we go up there, whether I’m 6 or 33… I have been welcomed with open arms.

And it feels like I never left.

Doesn’t matter who I am hanging out with. Could be anyone up there, really. We are all unique, but we all seem to click. Is it the blood we share? the positive vibes the cottage blesses everyone with? Maybe a little of both. It’s one of the few places in the world where I don’t feel like a black sheep. Even on the rare instance that I do feel “different” it’s ok. I feel like I can be myself and talk about anything with anyone, we can just sit and watch the waves from the deck and say nothing. It’s comfortable. It’s home. 

Lake Michigan.
There is something truly incredible about this fresh body of water. I prefer to swim in Lake Michigan at my family’s cottage, however, since we do live a 40 minute drive from the nearest Lake Michigan beach, it always feels like a little piece of home when I’m in it. I’ve watched many sunsets, fought with angry, 10 foot waves, and nearly floated away on an intertube with my cousin & sister when we were kids. There have been times when people I love have passed and I was practically drawn to the nearest Lake Michigan beach, just to put my feet in the sand and hear those waves. Virtually taking me back to my family cottage. Lake Michigan = home. 
ZOMG… my Granni’s side of the family makes THE.BEST.FOOD! We have the tiniest kitchen at the cottage… it can be a bitch to prepare a meal in that kitchen, but I do believe we sort of enjoy the closeness. In spite of the small kitchen, the cottage has a long dining room table, surrounded by windows overlooking Lake Michigan. My Great-Uncle taught me how to play euchre at this table. Most of the time, there’s prep-work being done on that big table… and there’s almost always food on it. I swear, I gain 5 lbs every time I go to the cottage, but I never allow myself to care. Everyone brings their best dishes to share. If we’re there over a long weekend with a small group, each family makes a meal. The bonus? Most of us married great cooks…. even the in-laws make great dishes to share. 

Sleeping quarters.
There are 2 small bedrooms on the main level that my Great Aunts & Uncles sleep in, but upstairs? There’s nothing like that upper-level. It’s an open-floor plan with about a dozen double-beds, a trundle and a bathroom with a shower (a fairly recent addition, before we only had one bathroom with a clawfoot tub!) It’s almost like a gutted-out attic. I’ve heard stories about my dad & his cousins jumping from the rafters in the ceiling onto the beds below, and my Great Aunt yelling the shit out of them for it. I’ve learned to pack ear-plugs if we’re sleeping up there because the choir of snores usually drown out the soothing waves. It’s all good though. It’s hard to feel anything but love up there. 
The deck… 
… overlooks Lake Michigan. I’ve danced on it like a stage, creating & selling tickets to our family members and making them watch us sing & dance along to Debbie Gibson & Paula Abdul. Yes, I was a dorky child in the 80s #sowhatwhocares. I have sung on that deck with the hubs. I have watched my children look over that deck with so much joy, I thought I’d explode. I’ve watched more sunsets from that deck than anywhere else. True story. 
The cottage is a sacred space for me, and by far, my favorite summer tradition. 
What’s your favorite summer tradition?

Clever Compass' Friday 5

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