Gratitude in the Land of Indulgence
Spring is a season of rebirth. This thought runs through my mind as I hoist my straw beach tote out of the passenger seat of the car and onto my aching shoulder. It’s the first week of June and I’m eight months pregnant. I am grateful to have snagged the last parking space in the lot close to the village. Walking far in 3 inch wedges, while pregnant, is not fun. Trust me.
The weather is just beginning to show signs of the summer ahead. I am finally able to wear a sleeveless shirt and some open toe sandals. These are the ways I gauge the change of the seasons, based on my wardrobe changes. There is nothing more magical than a summer in The Hamptons. Summer’s out east are made up of days so glorious you feel as if you have found Heaven on Earth. As a transplant that relocated here 12 years ago, I have not lost the appreciation of calling the Hamptons home. I may not be privileged enough to be a woman of leisure, spending hours on end shopping in one of the many quant villages, or passing the time laying in the sun on a pristine Hampton’s beach, I still consider myself blessed to live here.
Summer is typically when I pay my dues for calling the East End home. As a boutique manager, I am expected to put in long days during the high season. I must be welcoming, entertaining and at all times pleasant- even when the favor is not returned. Weekends are spent working, not barbequing. Days are long, especially when the crowd is demanding and relentless.
This summer will be different, I tell myself. I am counting down the days until I am due, and thus begin my first summer off of work since I was fourteen- my maternity leave. I have already taken the prerequisite Lamaze classes. As it turns out, I knew the workshop leader from the Southampton gym. We had shaken our hips together many times in the Zumba Class on Tuesday nights. It’s one of the unique qualities of life in the Hamptons, everyone seems to know each other.
I am headed into work to finish out my last week. As I walk down Main St. Southampton, I notice there is an increase in the amount of people bustling about, in and out of shops. Couples are strolling along, leisurely, coffee in hand, and just for a minute I feel a pang of envy. I wonder what it would feel like to be part of that couple, I envision mornings that start off slowly, days that unfold with no real plan or commitment. I could get used to that, I think to myself.
I retreat into my favorite reverie, I imagine myself doing all the things I have been longing to since moving here. I see myself strolling through the village, baby in tow, on a sunny afternoon. I picture myself grabbing a Dan’s Papers and finding a shady tree to sit under and read while my baby coos close by in his stroller. I may sign up for Mommy and me music classes by the Dunes. I have heard these classes are amazing. They should be for $350 for one week. Yikes.
As I enter the store, I notice the floor has not been vacuumed. My young sales assistant is only helping out for the season. She came home to stay with her parents for the summer, looking to make some pocket money while on break from NYU. She is pleasant enough. Unfortunately, she requires constant energy to motivate. I just don’t have it in me today. I mentally promise myself to run the vacuum before I leave for the night. Burning calories, I think. With all the weight gain from the pregnancy, I could benefit from some old fashion physical labor. The store looks good, otherwise. We have been in great shape ever since we filmed an HGTV episode last week. Talk about motivation. Knowing that your store will be filmed with Beth Stern for national television sure can light a fire under you. We cleaned the floors, the walls, the windows and rearranged the merchandise until we achieved near perfection. We worked so hard, I was afraid I may just go into labor right then. Luckily for me, the Southampton Hospital is just steps from the Village where I work. If need be, I could even walk myself over there, it’s totally possible and not at all out of character. You see, I was raised by a single Mom and the result is one very independent woman.
I am grateful the day passes quickly and uneventfully. I find myself home, with my swollen ankles resting up on the coffee table. We have the windows open in the living room. I lose myself in the sounds of the outside. Birds are chirping, far off in the distance someone is mowing their lawn and I can just make out the music from the ice cream truck. I close my eyes and picture my baby boy when he is older, chasing after the ice cream man. I smile at this day dream. I realize in this moment there is not one thing I would change about my life.