A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double. ~ Toni Morrison
Thou art thy mother’s glass, and she in thee/Calls back the lovely April of her prime. ~ William Shakespeare
In September, my mother is treating my sisters and me to a girls’ getaway weekend. On Sunday, we are getting together to vote on the destination. Each of us presented two different options and then we dwindled the list down to the two places we are voting on. Our final decision rests between San Francisco, CA and Martha’s Vineyard, MA–both equally enticing destinations, if you ask me.
It’s been over a decade since I traveled to The Vineyard on a whim one early summer day. A few years post-college graduation, I lived near Boston, MA. My work took me up and down the New England coast and inland, still. I covered much ground in a short period of time. I’m forever grateful that I took the chance to start my career in such a historically-rich, interesting, and beautiful part of the country, one for which my heart was already fond of. Because I once lived a mere 26.2 miles from Boston as an elementary school aged child, I remained akin to the culture, language, and beauty of this part of our amazing country. Back when my family dwelled there, my parents were intent on showing us the cranberry bogs nestled in Southeastern, MA, the crimson and orange leaves in all their glory at parks along the way to Plimoth Plantation, the white city lights and quaint treasures nestled snugly inside unique shops in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and the sheer exhilarating mounting of intense excitement that comes with being a spectator at the start of the Boston Marathon. I was blessed with parents who loved history as much as they did the great outdoors. Oh, how New England tugs at my heart, still! To me, there’s nothing like the sights, smells, and sounds of the landscape and life uniquely New England.
On an opposite coast, San Francisco lies not without sentiment, I must admit. A different sort of freedom and nostalgia tugs at my heart for its surrounding waters, balmy sea air and of course, the distinct coolness factor representative of this Californian dream town. I found myself right in the heart of this incredible city as I began a new job and life in Massachusetts. My new employer hired me just in time for their annual sales meeting that was being held in San Francisco and I couldn’t believe my luck! Not only was I moving back to Massachusetts which I had always dreamed of, I was now flying to a city I’d only read about but knew I would adore. As I flew to California for the very first time, I was immediately enamored by all the Bay Area had to offer. Thousands of miles away from my beloved Massachusetts, it didn’t take long before I fell in love with an entirely new city. This expounded love for a city I had no connection to felt so different, unreal, even. It didn’t feel anything like cheating, or disloyalty. Actually, I recall it felt exhilarating and freeing to have found another place in the world where I felt completely at home. On the red-eye return flight, I imagined that over the next few years, with the opportunities that awaited me just with this new job in an industry I knew I was meant for, I conjured up all sorts of positive thoughts about the incredible American cities and towns that awaited exploration and newfound love in their own right. It was a dream come true, really—being single, free to travel on a whim, working diligently at my job that took me to places near and far—seeing America with innocent eyes. In the time that followed, I felt that it was easy to fall in love with almost any city or town as long as I looked for the good around me. This love wasn’t trite or inexperienced, but born of interest and excitement. So, I let my heart lead me up and down, inside and out all of New England. My love for new towns accompanied me from coast to coast and to almost all of the 50 states in-between. What I’ve realized in the years that have past by is that I was given a gift most people only dream of as I was able to garner so much about this incredible country of ours just by the mere act of employment—and that’s a freedom I will cherish forever. During my pre-motherhood years, I returned to San Francisco a few times more, explored a little deeper and wondered how I might ever be able to dwell in a city with the most ideal climate I’ve ever known. No doubt the allure of the Bay Area hasn’t changed since my first visit, and I believe that there’s always room to fall head over heels in love all over again with such an ideal place on the map.
To be honest, I will be truly happy to return to either one of these choice destinations. Sure, there are logistics to consider (length of travel, The Husband’s work schedule flexibility, and of course the length I can be away before my three kids reach total meltdown mode or I’m missing them more), but ultimately, I will be happy with either way the vote may sway. What may be more interesting, however, is how well my two sisters, mother, and I will travel together. And that, well that’s a story best saved for another time!
“Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane/Don’t know when I’ll be back again” (John Denver)