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.