Day Trips and Day Dreams

Written By: Gina  Liles

Hairy-headed cows. The Montauk Lighthouse. Tall grasses along paths that lead to a sandy beach. Clean, neat appearances of eye-catching architecture and well-manicured landscapes of neighborhood homes. Refreshing quietness in the air. This is the east end to us. These are the daytrips my husband and I so enjoy.

We had been there before, to the farm with the Highland Cattle and the lamas. It was a regular stop for us on our way out to the Lighthouse (though we never bothered to take note of the farm name). The cows with the hairy tufts on their heads always made me smile like a child as I hoped they would come close enough to be touched. They were majestic and yet just so cute, and on a crisp autumn day when we had nowhere else to be and no schedules to maintain, they were a welcomed diversion as we strayed from our road travels on the way to the Lighthouse. On one especially breathtaking visit a new calf was present. Fuzzy ears and knock-knees; it was a pint sized version of the adult Highlands. Leaning my torso in between slats on the wooden fence of the corral as if that baby would somehow gravitate towards me it was hard to take my eyes off of the new family. It was a truly admirable scene. After soaking up all of the wonder of the farm and its beautiful occupants, we continued onward to Montauk Point at a time of year when the lighthouse had limited visiting hours and foot traffic was somewhat scarce. It was peaceful and though cool along the water, we felt numb to the chilly temps and strong breeze as we snapped photos of the undisturbed landscapes. Tall grasses along a sandy path in the foreground and the lighthouse prominently standing in the distance; I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so artistic and photographically inclined since. We snapped many post-card worthy pictures which would later be pressed into the pages of a photo album for safekeeping as our own personal treasures because they so accurately captured our feelings and the serenity of that day.

We took our time and walked along the landscape. The hustle and bustle of our everyday lives stopped in those moments. How could two twenty-somethings in love not feel gloriously happy in this small but powerful experience? Hand holding, smiling, strolling along we took notice of rocks, shells, fish skeletons, seaweed and all of it seemed so very interesting. We were living a day dream.

Caught up in the moment it was easy to imagine a happy life together; to feel that tingle of excitement rise up through my belly into my chest at the idea of our future family and travels to these very same places with our kids in tow. I could have squealed I was so high on the possibilities that ran through my mind. Thank goodness this beauty was just a drive away.

After we had our fill of our amorous wandering it was time to head home. We would settle in for our drive, warming our cheeks and hands in the car, and gazing upon golden lights that seemed to warm the faces of beautiful homes as the darker skies of evening began to set in. It was a final nod to the day, but not the last time we would make such a trip.

Over the years we made big changes in our life together. We married, we purchased a home in North Carolina and moved out of state for a few years, and then we moved back to Long Island and bought our first home here. Over those years we did a lot of growing as a couple; a lot of changing as adults (although we remained unchanged in our fondness of the simplistic beauty to be found in our surroundings).

Those daydreams of aimlessly wandering the roadside stops on our way out to the east end with a couple of offspring were put on hold as we struggled to achieve a successful pregnancy. Several years passed, and while we still managed to love one another and to enjoy life, there were dark and gloomy moments that felt unbelievably far from those day trips that were once so gloriously happy for us.

With our bond to one another put to the test time and time again, we persevered in our goal to have the family we so desired, and to make those day dreams come true. After more than 4 years of trying, we finally achieved our first full-term pregnancy, and we are now the proud parents of a smart, healthy, and very happy 16 month old girl. We named her Halle Marie, and not long ago, we began our journey for baby number two- now due in just a few short weeks.

Blessed with two miracles, the everyday struggles that we encounter seem all the more worthwhile. The aches and pains of failed pregnancies, while still with me to some degree, fades away as I can now see a sunny future with my family.

I once again find myself day dreaming about petting the hairy heads of the cattle on that farm; about strolling along sandy paths with our outstretched hands and fingers swiping along blades of tall grasses; about warming our faces in the blowing heat inside the car as we wrap up a chilly day of sightseeing; and most of all about all of the new, yet unknown memories that we will make on these day trips with our two little girls in tow just as I had dreamed of so many years earlier.

While I’m too exhausted and too big in the belly to make a day trip right now, I know that drive is around the corner and it will be a sweetly teary eyed moment when I stand beside my husband at the same farm where we once gazed upon that beautiful little calf, and boost up our own young ones for a better view of the Highland Cattle. How amazingly special that we can reignite the past with a brand new generation, building upon memories started years earlier in our own youth, and that we can escape to such wonder in just a day’s travels to the east end of Long Island.