Beach vacation

We just returned from a relaxing and restorative beach vacation.

I’m not a beach person. I grew up in Pittsburgh (a land-locked city, though it does have three rivers!), and our family very rarely traveled from there. My father ran a grocery store that was open six days a week, and he worked on Sundays to get ready for the next week, so there wasn’t time for a vacation. When we did go away, it was a quick overnight trip to Niagara Falls or Gettysburg – someplace educational, not relaxing.

I would hear friends at school talk about their family trips to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, to places like “Duck” and “Nags Head.” I had no idea what they were like – I alternately pictured glamour and tacky. The vision of a family beach vacation has lived in the back of my mind for almost 40 years, taking on various shapes and probably a life of its own.

In my grown-up life, I’m lucky enough to take several vacations a year with my family. Considering where to go this summer, a friend recommended getting a large house by the beach and this high school memory popped up. Maybe I could finally have that family vacation – not just with my husband and sons, but with my parents and my sister and her family and my brother and his girlfriend as well.

I asked around, got some good advice from friends, and booked a house on the beach that had a pool and enough bedrooms to fit everyone plus our dog. Everyone generously agreed to use their precious vacation time during that week.

I got more and more excited: I would finally get our family beach vacation on the Outer Banks!

The week before we left, I started to panic: Except for my sister, I do not come from a family of beach lovers. My parents like to keep busy and a beach vacation doesn’t fit that bill. My brother does not like vacations where you “just sit around;” the beach isn’t high on his list of destinations. I currently live about an hour from some gorgeous beaches, and I often go an entire summer without seeing the ocean. Was this one of those events that was better in my mind than in reality?

But, miraculously, it all came together. The house fit all of us comfortably, was clean and spacious, located in a good area, and had a pool. Everyone seemed to love the beach, which was right outside. They could walk in the sand, or simply view it from the deck. There was plenty around us to do. The kids all got along great. My husband even relaxed a little, and our neurotic dog even settled in (love him so!).


And now, we are home. I’m still feeling the nice effects of vacation and hoping to carry those feelings with me as I head into chemo tomorrow. Your prayers and positive thoughts are welcome, and we are grateful for your help in every way.


Summer camp

Chemo today, Tuesday. Very much appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts for an easy but effective chemo session through Thursday, and also very much appreciate your understanding and support of our family as we go through this. Thank you.

The kids are done with school and we are transitioning to summer. The first couple of days are always bumpy for us as we switch to summer mode. I noticed that other moms went on a mom-son trip for the first days after school. What a great idea! But I didn’t do that and we bumbled along, adjusting to a new routine.

Fortunately, that lasted only for a couple of days. Our younger son started baseball camp on Monday. It was a last-minute decision and we didn’t get to check and see what other friends might be attending, but he was excited nonetheless as I dropped him off.

My personal highlight was that I got to pick him up at the end of the day. Since I got really sick in March, I haven’t been able to pick him up from school. The fifteen-minute drive, the waiting in the pickup line, and the drive home was just too much.

But, yesterday, I was able to pick him up after camp! He got into the car, bubbly and excited about his day. His bright smile was nonstop and he smelled of summer. And, without prompting, he talked with me about his day! I heard that many friends from his current school were in camp, as well as a friend from his old school who he was thrilled to see again. He got to practice catching grounders and pop-ups, and he felt like his skills were solid enough that he wasn’t going to embarrass himself. He had no problem passing the swim test, though the water was “probably 33 degrees!” (Fahrenheit)

It was energizing and fun and I felt more connected to him and his life. I miss the opportunity to hear that detail. Admittedly, it is rare – my boys don’t tend to talk about their day at all. But I was glad to be there when it happened. By the time he got home, his mind was onto something else.

Because I will have chemo, I can’t do the drive the rest of the week. I’m grateful to those who are driving the boys around. I don’t hate my life, and I do appreciate what I have. But it is these daily events that I miss the most and can leave me feeling disconnected.

It’s cool but clearly summer here in New England. Wherever you are, whatever your life is today, I hope you get to enjoy the daily events that keep you connected to your life and to the core of who you are and want to be.

Much love,