As my fourth summer season comes to an end I am grateful. I have found this to be my hardest summer yet working out in the Hamptons. It’s funny how a place I was once in such wonder with has become normalized. I still find tranquility in creating, cooking up glorious summer fare and it’s still 1000 times better than being in the hot disgusting city full time in the summer. August has been oppressive, suffocating even. It’s as if summer doesn’t want to go, lingering in the thick dirty city air.
This year I have made more of an effort to visit local farm stands where the corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers hold on their own with no seasoning needed. Creamy fresh goat cheeses pair well with crisp lettuces and beautiful edible flowers. I feel like I have really come into my craft, impressing myself with my creations. I have matured bringing about a confidence I display in dishes.
Now that the kids are older the family is able to host more, which is a blessing and a curse. On one hand a chance to add extra flair and creativity and more people to watch enjoying the food I have prepared with my hands. Yet on the other hand, cooking and serving single handedly in an upside down house (kitchen on the top floor) leaves me exhausted. I suppose it’s the good kind of tired that comes with a feeling of fulfillment of successful day of work.
I watch the children running around the grand lawn so free and happy, carefree jumping into the pool, laughing imprinting memories in their mind. Even on rainy days they are busy inside with the plethora of crafts their mother has supplied for them. Rubber band bracelets are out and this year it’s all about lanyards. There is never a dull moment, bee stings are soothed with Neosporin and quickly forgotten about as they go for the third swim of the day.
Their summer life is lighter than that which they live in the city. In the city they are always on time schedules, rushing from activities, rigid private school, and bed times. While they seemingly have a lot more then other people all year long the Hamptons is truly their heaven. It is a reminder of the human need for connection to nature. It’s not about what they have here; it’s about the time they spend together, the room to breathe, watching flowers bloom and die, the meals eaten together poolside at dusk, the grass blades between their toes, the laughter and even the tears.
I’m grateful to be able to contribute to their experience. I’m thankful for the artistic creativity I have when it comes to meal planning. I find joy in watching their kids grow, learn, and really come into themselves (it’s also great birth control). There are moments when I am reminded this life is not my own, it is just a job, but when you are living with a family it becomes so much more. You have the unspoken responsibility of taking on their energy. It’s interesting to learn so much and feel satisfied on one level, but still yearn for a true sense of belonging. Though I don’t belong in their family I find comfort in the beauty that surrounds us. I search for the freedom those children don’t even know they are experiencing. While I find external factors can contribute greatly to peace of mind it is essential for all of us to find a Hamptons in our own mind. Living free is a choice and it’s sometimes a struggle to be the light as the world seemingly rains heaviness upon us. It is a great undertaking this thing called life, but I am blessed.