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We were in The Hamptons for the holiday weekend.  I actually spent Memorial Day weekend in The Hamptons throughout most of my childhood; my mother’s parents had a summer home there – a home she inherited, that my cousins now use more than any of the rest of my family.  Until Memorial Day weekend, I hadn’t been there since 2009, despite the fact that I, technically, now own it.

I have no idea how many people have keys to that house; I have two uncles, who each have a wife and two sons – each of whom has a wife and two sons of his own; living in New York, all come and go with some frequency.  My two oldest sons also have access to the estate, as do John’s children.  There is a caretaker in permanent residence, and a cleaning staff keeps a regular schedule, so the house has been well occupied throughout the years, even with my absence.

The weekend was celebratory for us; my oldest son announced his engagement. The party was elegant and the food a work of art – the future bride and groom couldn’t take their eyes off each other.  All was as it should be.

Having all of my children in one place at one time has become reason enough for celebration – none of them live too far away, and individually we see them quite often, but to have had all five in one place at one time was priceless.

My daughter came with her boyfriend of several months; my middle son brought no date at all, which we all found a little puzzling …

Toasts were made, family ties rekindled through the sharing of tradition, and John and I watched – his arms folded tightly around me, as the first of my children announced his upcoming marriage.

Marriage – I am torn; when love is right, and the union works as it should, it brings immeasurable joy and fulfillment, but when it is wrong, and difficult to maintain, nothing on earth can yield more heartbreak, sorrow or emotional pain.

G asked me if I could go back in time, would I still marry her father – knowing it was wrong, and knowing also all of what would eventually come to pass.  Her eyes did not betray the answer she hoped to hear, and there was only one …

“Yes, I suppose I would, because I wouldn’t want to live without you and your brothers.”

I tried to make her understand that I wasn’t unhappy until the last few years, and that being married to your best friend is not analogous to a life in prison.

“But it was never what you have with John, mom.”

“No, G, it never was – but it never could have been.”

And that is how the conversation began …