The past year for me can be summed up as the “year of losses.” In fact, the stress of the last six months of 2011 have left me quite frequently at a loss for breath. Literally. My mom keeps worrying that it’s a heart problem, but I know better. Yet, with 2012 comes the potential for the worst loss imaginable since Middle Son J will be heading off to one of the most dangerous places in the world to scout out bombs. I would relive last year many times over to avoid this scenario.
Not all of the “losses” we suffered were bad things. But even good changes are stressful. Oldest Son left the frequently gray skies of Western Pennsylvania in May to join his fiance and her family in sunny California to start his new life there and help plan their wedding. Youngest Son packed up most of his belongings to move into an apartment across the state in order to attend medical school. These are good things, but major changes for our little nuclear family.
Although we don’t go away on vacation every year, Big Daddy decided early in the year that we should rent a beach house since we may not all be together again for a while. This was before we realized that Oldest Son would already be on the other side of the country–in fact, I don’t even think he realized it at the time. But still–we knew our Bonus girls had never seen the ocean, and Middle Son J, his girlfriend Kathy, and Youngest Son were all able to come up with an available week in their insanely busy schedules to hit the North Carolina beach for some much needed rest and relaxation!
Here I was, taking a break from working on our taxes to let Bonus Child “style” my hair, when Big Daddy plops down in front of the computer. I thought he’d never get off! Not only do I have a crapload of numbers to crunch, I have other important plans with my computer like stalking Facebook friends and reading blogs! Big Daddy usually has no interest in the computer unless he’s excited about something, like checking out biking gear or mapping his next ride. So by the length of time he’s hogging my computer, I know he’s kind of excited checking out the beach house I reserved for this summer. I’m kind of excited myself!
We don’t do vacations every year. When we decided to dig up our yard and put a pool in 15 years ago, we knew we’d spend most summers at home. And we’ve been fine with that. But this year, even though we’ll be heading out to sunny California this fall for Oldest Son’s wedding, Big Daddy wanted to spend a week at the shore with the family this summer. It may be our last shot before the boys get too busy with life. Youngest Son is heading off to med school in the fall. Middle Son J will likely be deployed to Afghanistan or some other scary place next year. We thought Oldest Son and his fiance would be able to join us, too, but they are planning to head out to California for good when she finishes her studies and student teaching in May. Already it’s getting hard to plan these family vacations together!
We hope we’ll still have the girls this summer. They’ve never seen the ocean. It would be so much fun to see the smiles on their faces when they’re playing in the sand and running to the water’s edge. If by some chance we don’t have them, though, we will then enjoy a calm relaxing adult vacation. I’m nothing if not flexible these days. Our beach house sleeps 8, and I’m sure I can find a couple of takers! I’d love to take my almost-14-year-old niece with us because she loves the girls like the little sisters she never had and they’d all have a blast, but our van (that luckily never sold!) only seats 7, which we already have counting J’s girlfriend. But who knows? Maybe the boys will decide they don’t want to be crammed in one vehicle with the old folks and a couple of kids and drive a second car. Maybe we’ll ask my mom and niece to come if the girls aren’t here. Maybe Youngest Son will find the perfect independent sports-loving competitive non-possessive compulsively tidy young lady to drag along with us. Who knows? All I know is, after the winter we’ve had, I am more than ready for a week of this:
Photos courtesy of Ward Realty Corporation
Published June 20, 2008
family , Life
Tags: Bob Dylan concert, vacation
Gas prices are causing people to stay closer to home when taking their vacation this year. I guess we’re just ahead of our time. We’ve done this for a while. For me, the sun is just as warm in my backyard as it is 500 miles away. The restaurant choices are just as varied. And I can have just as much fun at local amusements as I can far away from home.
That’s not to say we’ve never taken a family vacation. When we do, we want to do it right. When we go to the beach, we don’t like to skimp on anything. The couple vacations I had as a kid sucked. We stayed at no name motels miles from the beach and ate maybe one meal a day at the cheapest diner we could find. I used to worry about how much the folks were spending as much as they did. Why bother?
The year we took our boys to Cancun was like a dream. They still talk about it. It was relaxing (time on the beach) and educational (we visited the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza). The fantastic pictures we have confirm the fact that I really did temporarily lose my mind. God help me, but I actually allowed my boys to climb to the top of the pyramid there. We all did, except my mom who watched us from the bottom. There was no hand railing. We could have all died. I’m scared of height and I remember thinking that we’d probably never have this opportunity again and that I’d regret it if I didn’t climb. So I did. But I can hardly believe we let the boys climb–but anyways, we’re all still here.
Our pool in the backyard serves as our summer long vacation. It costs us about what a typical week at the beach would cost, except we can enjoy it all summer long. We don’t have to worry about crowds, dirty overpriced hotel rooms, or the possibility that the one week we’ve waited for all year is the week that a hurricane closes the beach.
This year, though, we’re splurging a bit. Bob Dylan is going to perform nearby as part of a two-day concert. Serendipitously, it is scheduled on our anniversary. I mentioned to Big Daddy how I really would like to see Dylan in concert before I die–and he took the bait. We booked a hotel room and bought the tickets. It’s not cheap but a good vacation never is.