Our family vacation ended yesterday - July 4th - a day when all others were celebrating independence. However, the only commemoration our family of five had time to celebrate was the independence from one another after travelling in the car for nine hours.
(Oh, that’s not true. We also celebrated the fact that most traffic was headed in the opposite direction of our salt -encrusted, packed-to the-ceiling Expedition. SCORE! ).
I have never used the term family vacation when referring to this particular block of time we try to schedule once a summer. In my worn out mind, when summoning an idea of vacation, I picture fruity drinks with little umbrellas to quench your thirst, cabana boys offering iced towels for your sweaty brow, and tanned dance instructors to teach you salsa on the beach.
Or maybe that was the movie Dirty Dancing.
Anyhow, when small children are involved, it is a stretch to label it as a vacation. In fact, at times it can seem like downright work , introducing the much used phrase that I rolled my eyes at as a child: “ I need a vacation from my vacation.”
Until now, our family summer jaunts to various beaches could only be considered family TRIPS. Those with ongoing needs outnumber the adults who can fulfill said ongoing needs. Sunscreen, and ultimately saltwater, sting little eyes, hunger is followed by dire thirst, and bathroom needs interrupt the five minutes of tranquility found in the beach chair that will sit empty and isolated in the sand for the majority of the day.
But not this year.
We have mercifully entered a stage that honestly comprises a true vacation. Sleeping late and staying up later. Do-It-Yourself breakfasts, leisurely lunches, and laidback dinners. Endless hours of playing in the ocean trailed by the same amount of time playing in the sand. Adult participation no longer a necessity or a high commodity demand, but instead a non-committal addition children could function with or without.
For the second year, we vacationed with two other families that effortlessly meshed with our own. Similar temperaments, humor and personalities contribute to half of the formula that makes this vacation a success, while the other half is the repetition of this very simple statement both out loud and in one‘s thoughts on various occasions during the seven day stay: “It’s your own party.”
For instance, one person may want to sleep on a blown up dolphin in the pool (Sabrina) while another prefers to nap in the sand(Jon). Whatever floats your boat (get it?!), it’s your own party.
One child wants to make pizza,
while, another wants to mimic the cuisine of I-Carly with spaghetti tacos. It’s your own party.
A few of our crowd preferred to hunt crabs in the dark night:
While a few others waited for the crabs to come to them:
Waiting or hunting, it's your own party.
Some want to eat their snacks out of their own hands while others want to feed the birds off of their own heads. Do what you want, it’s your own party.
Vacationing males may want to get down while getting jiggy with it:
Vacationing females may want to shake it like a Polaroid picture. Either way, it’s your own party.
One child rides a wave bigger than he could have ever imagined.
A few others only ride waves in their imaginations. Nonetheless, it's your own party.
Some like to stand upright when tossing and catching the football,
While others (Tricia) go for the dramatic diving catch. No worries, it's your own party.
Some like to use sunscreen as protection from the harsh rays, while others pile on sand for unique, yet quasi-sufficient coverage. Whatever, it's your own party.
Sometimes, it feels a little more comfortable watching the waves from the shoreline.
And other times, its more fun to approach the waves with wild, joyful abandon. Calmly or wildly, it's your own party.
End? Get it? Never mind. You can go ahead and click on the red box in the corner.
Remember, it's your own party.