I looked to my mother and saw a tear roll down her worn face as she said “We’re here love, this is where my father fished and fell in love with the sea, where I escaped my mother’s tight grip and fell in love with the freedom, where you played as a child, and where I believe God lives”. My mother and I sat for a moment in the car, looking out onto a beach that held more memories for her than I would ever come to understand. It was 4:53 in the morning and there we were at Red River beach, in Harwich MA, just a mile away from the home her father had built before he died. She had looked at me just an hour before as if I were crazy for waking her up so early, but now, as she sat feeling every emotion roll in with the tide, I knew she was thankful to be here. Slowly the sun began to rise and looked identical to the 50 cent postcards that lined our fridge. It was beautiful, not just the sunrise, but that moment. I looked to my mom and said “Ma we gotta go feel the sea, get our feet in the sand”. She looked at me apprehensive at first, but then stepped out of the car and we walked hand in hand to the sand.
The beach stretched far along, but at this time we were the only ones around to savour the beauty of the morning. We walked passed seagulls diving and began to collect shimmering seashells, and slowly as the sun rose I began to see it wash away the stress and stiffness that my mother held so tightly. Her olive skin relaxed into a gentle smile and she began to tell me stories of her past I had never heard before. She spoke slowly at first, as I prodded her with questions, but then she erupted with laughter and smiles, reminiscing on days when she had her health. Her youthful days spent on the swings with her hair free and a gelato in her hand, glancing at cute boys who walked by. She remembered it all as if it was yesterday, and she began to walk with a lighter step as her feet felt the familiarity of the past with every step she took. In that moment I knew I would remember this to be the best morning I had ever spent with my mother. This was the first vacation after years of struggle and the divorce that was truly going to be a good one. And as we dipped our toes in the cold water I thanked God to be alive and to be here. This moment was a gift. I yelled to my mother “it’s so good to be alive!” She laughed and said “Yes my love it is!” As she swung around in circles breathing in the salt air she adored. Free from the stress of home, the pains of the past.
As the sun rose, so did our spirits. We ran until we reached the jetty, learning to balance as children would on slippery rocks. Throwing our hands in the air along with our cares and worries. It truly was a beautiful moment. This vacation to Cape Cod ended up being exactly what we both needed. I walked down memory lane with my mother and saw the beauty that arises when she is free, and home at the beach. This is her happy place, and now it was our’s to share.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.