I wish I may, I wish I might – create great cabin memories with my sons.


On our last night of the summer at our cabin on Grand Lake, Colo., I switched off the reading light at 11 p.m. Although we had a long, hot drive across Kansas the next day, I couldn’t sleep. There was something I hadn’t done. What was it? Finally, I remembered.

I quietly pulled on sweats and my tennis shoes in the dark so as not to disturb my husband. To explain what I was doing would surely break the spell. I tiptoed down the black hallway, avoiding the creakiest places in the 100-year-old house where my extended family slept.

At the bedroom of my two youngest sons, I carefully lifted up on the doorknob, so the door would open without scraping the floor. Sitting on the edge of 6-year-old Drew’s bed, I kissed his cheek softly and whispered in his ear, “Drew. Wake up. It’s Mommy. I want to show you something special.”

As Drew roused, I shushed him, not wanting his brother to wake and wonder why I hadn’t chosen him. Drew was the son I’d identified that night as needing a little attention and a special memory.

I helped the groggy guy get dressed and led him down the winding stairs, which were faintly lit by the small lamp we left on in the living room at night. We walked through the quiet house and out the front door. Drew held the flashlight for us, and focused it on the stone steps as we made our way down to the lake slowly, both feet placed on each step, holding hands.

“Mommy! What are we doing?” His giggle was shivery from excitement and the chilly night air.

“Shhhh … Almost there.”

A breeze off the water brushed our faces as we stepped out onto the wooden pier. “Drew, look!”

Along the shore, only a few lights winked from cabins. But arching above the dark mountains, the sky was splashed with thousands of stars, like twinkly confetti, and the smudge of the Milky Way swashed through the middle.

We laid down on our backs on the hard wooden slats at the end of the pier and placed our hands behind our heads. We watched for shooting stars from the meteor shower that I’d heard about. The only sound we heard was the gentle, rhythmic lapping of water against the dock pilings, and against rocks at the shore.

As we watched patiently, silently, a shooting star punctuated the sky with a silver dash, then vanished. We counted each shooting star that we saw – two, three, four – but only the ones that we both saw. No cheating. We got to make a wish on each one, but we couldn’t tell each other what we had wished.

“Why did God make so many stars, Mommy?” Drew asked me.

I looked over at my little guy, soon to be off to school. He’d no longer be my constant buddy, and the transition, I suspected, would be challenging for him.

I smiled at him, shrugged and then peered back at the galaxy. “I don’t know, Drewser. Maybe just for us tonight.”

Mary Beth Lagerborg’s favorite place to enjoy the wonders of nature is at her cabin in Grand Lake, Colorado.