Friday, June 26, 2009

The Family Vacation

The classic family vacation. Ours was a vision of minivan madness: the car packed to the hilt; cartop carrier overloaded with goods; kids sprawled throughout the vehicle sleeping, eating, listening to headphones, annoying one another with some antic; parents in front arguing over directions or listening (loudly) to talk radio; frequent stops for cooler-packed lunches or potty breaks or ice cream; countless rounds of "Are we there yet?", name-the-next-dog games, state license plate sightings, and Ad Libs, of course.

They were the best.

Some of my greatest childhood memories are of time spent during family vacations. Like the time we were vacationing up in Maine at Acadia National Park. After a day full of hiking, exploring, and my sister and I creating our own synchronized swim routines in the motel pool, we settled in to sleep. I then proceeded to sleepwalk out of our room, to the elevator and down to the motel lobby, waking only to scurry back to our room and begin crying at our door. Can you imagine the fear in my parents' hearts upon waking to hear their child crying outside the room? Oh my!

Or the time when we were in Jekyll Island, Georgia and I hastened to the ocean waves without first applying sunblock to my back. 2nd degree burns, fever, chills, and multiple ice baths later, we were able to salvage the last few days of the trip and still enjoy ourselves.

Or the time when our whale watch boat had the rare sighting of 5 Right Whales, including a nursing mama and baby.

Or the time when in Philadelphia observing much of our nation's historical sites, we had the world's most delicious Italian ices. They saved the day just in time for us to visit the US Mint, our favorite stop of the day in addition to touching the Liberty Bell crack.

Or waking at the earliest dawn with my mom to head down to the beach in Florida to get first dibs at the shells. Olive shells became my favorite and still awe me with their rolled shape and glassy sheen.

Whatever it was, whatever we did, it was worth it because we did it together. My memories show that vacations don't have to be grand or novel or even expensive. They are about getting out and having shared experiences. This idea bodes well for our family this summer. We have little on the schedule, but nothing holding us back from day trips to the mountains or the orchards. For fresh air and fun. The only requirement: doing it as a family.