Once upon a time, I was a little girl. My family vacationed yearly in the same beautiful spot. Every summer it was filled with amazing, yet simple experiences. In my mind, we were in paradise. In my memories, the world was perfect and my sister was my best friend (okay, we fought a little).
My family never took extravagant vacations, rather my parents focused on the family first and how even the little things could bring us together. To some, going to the same place every summer may seem boring and dull. To me, it was familiar, comfortable and perfect. I came of age in the same place where my mother did. She grew up going to the same coastal location with her family. It's a multi-generational thing I suppose. She and my dad basically honeymooned there as well. I can't even begin to tell you how many countless trips I made to this place. I suppose it was a home away from home--and it still is.
A silly story is before I joined the Corps, I visited here with my family (of course). I thought it was going to be my last trip there ever. I figured by enlistment would take me very far away from this little piece of heaven on earth. So, I stood out on a rock in the surf as the tide rolled in. I just stared out into the sunsetting on the horizon and contemplated my life up until that point. I imagined where I was going and the path my life would take. Never in a million years did I ever envision going back to this place, much less vacationing her with my husband and my little ones. Silly, right? I guess my point is that sometimes you feel you can never go "home" again because it's not always the same, but this place, this haven will always be "home" and I never feel strange. There's just an overwhelming peace that comes over me when I return.
Since I gave birth to my first child, I have amazingly stayed within reasonable travel distance to this very same spot. Now, with three little ones, I marvel at my ability to share with them each summer the same place I grew up loving. Of course, they may not know the impact of this, but maybe one day when they are much older, they will look back with fond memories too. I hope I can give that much to them.
We just arrived home today from our most recent trip. My girls are still giddy with excitement about the sand, shells and sea salt in the air. My husband, well I haven't seen him have so much fun being a daddy--well ever. He is such a doting dad, and a 'water-man' to boot (having grown up near the beach). Since he deploys often, he's not always been able to come with us to the beach, so this year was something really special. He had a blast building sandcastles that were quickly pummeled by tiny feet and jumping the waves for the first time with our little boy in his arms. We took them to a nearby lighthouse and were just amazed at the sheer curiosity they had about the whole experience. It was so cool. I think my favorite part was when we were just all together enjoying the moment, feeling no rush and no one was picking on anybody (LOL).
I'm still reeling in the afterglow of a great family journey and hope you and yours are able to treasure such special moments, whether it's to the beach this summer, a family picnic or even just a campout in your backyard. Give your children the gift of family memories, in any way that you can.