Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family Frisbee Lesson - Part 3

(Continued from July 24, 2010) .... So, a valuable lesson was learned from the 65-year-old guy and his 40-ish daughter. The lesson is to keep doing things with your kids, irrespective of their ages, as well as your own age! After all, if an activity was fun when they were little, it is still fun!

Yes, we continued to play Frisbee during our remaining days on vacation; yes, hours were soaked up frolicking with the disc each day; yes, we played more Frisbee when we returned home; and, yes, we will be playing Frisbee on any future vacations, even with future extended families!

And, oh, one more thing – while were playing non-stop Frisbee for hours, we noticed that other families were watching us. Some laughed at our foibles; some marveled at a few catches and throws; and a couple of folks asked where we bought the Frisbee. Did our activity inspire them to engage in family activities that would take them back to when their kids were little? Well, there is no way to know, just like the 65-year-old dad and 40-ish daughter never knew that they had inspired us.

But, while enjoying each other's company with such an activity as tossing a Frisbee (even while tossing in the occasional sardonic comment, such, as, "Hey, that wasn't such a bad shot. After all, it hit the correct ocean!"), we realized that it had been awhile since we had played that long together and we decided that we would not wait so long for the next time.

So, yes, while doing nothing but relaxing on the beach, we learned a valuable lesson from some older folks – keep having fun with your kids, no matter how old they (and you!) get. The memories just keep getting better and better!

So, how about you? Have you ever "discovered" that an old activity with your children received new life when you did the same activity years later?

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Family Frisbee Lesson - Part 2

(Continued from July 17, 2010) ..... Well, after watching the two of them, the dad being older than my age and the daughter being older than my kids, I suggested to my 2 lads (16 and 19) and my 1 lass (22) that we should get a Frisbee and toss it around. I was quickly showered with a barrage of words like "lame", "silly", "not a chance", etc. No matter how hard I tried, I was met with a complete lack of willingness to try!

So, I did the only thing that a responsible dad would do at a time like that .... I went out that night and bought a Frisbee! The next day, after we set our chairs, water, and fruit down, I suggested that we play with the Frisbee. Again, "no way" was the message that I received. But, I did not give up! I finally asked my daughter if she would toss the Frisbee with me for 5 minutes just to please me. Much to my surprise, she agreed to do so (I think that she realized that I would keep bugging her all day until she relented!).

So, we moved closer to the water away from people, so that we would not hit anybody! We started with a few gentle tosses from close range and we expanded our distance, speed, and trajectories. Before long, we were like we used to be, 5-year-old daughter and her dad just enjoying time together.

My 2 boys remained in safe zones up higher on the beach. Well, much to my delight, and as I somewhat expected, my oldest son yelled to ask if he could join the fray. YES, it was working - 2 down and 1 to go! It was like both kids were suddenly much younger, not a care in the world, having fun with each other and with dad!

Well, I'm sure that you know what happened next ... yes, my youngest son joined in the fun with the Frisbee! Before long we were playing four-corner Frisbee trying to set family records for consecutive catches! We changed positions, we changed wind direction, and we changed speeds and trajectories. YES, life with these three whippersnappers was just as fun as when they were little and it was happening at the old vacation abode!

At some point, somebody asked the time. Much to the surprise of all of us, we discovered that FOUR HOURS had passed!! It seemed like minutes, but, with the capturing of their youth at our old vacation spot, several hours of Frisbee had transpired before anybody even thought of checking the time!

(Please come back next week for Part 3)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Family Frisbee Lesson - Part 1

Well, with our gallant return to our old haunt when our kids were infants and toddlers; the knowledge that the hotel was still there; and the fact that our instant sighting of the place brought back all of those good memories, there seemed to be nothing that could get in our way of enjoying terrific family time ......... at least one would think so!

As a bit of background, when I was a little whippersnapper, my dad's version of a vacation was to always be on the move and see and do as much as possible. However, my wife's family believed that a vacation consisted of getting to a destination and then doing as little as possible!

Well, even though I grew up believing that my dad's method was correct, being the good husband and extended family member, I learned to slow down on vacation during the days when my wife and I would take vacations with her parents.

So, back to our story of enjoying each other at our old haunt, we were doing what we do best .... relaxing on the beach with bottles of drinking water and fresh fruit and doing absolutely nothing, other than enjoying some good conversation.

Ahhhh, life could not get much better, as I was thoroughly enjoying our time together, perhaps more than usual, as we all knew that this could be the last time for the five of us together.

Then, ... it happened. A simple event occurred that would propel me, and my offspring - against their desires - up off of the beach and into action! Yes, in one moment, we went from a docile crew to a group that knew that it had to do something!

So, what happened? A 65-year-old guy and his 40-ish daughter got up right in front of us and began to competitively toss a Frisbee to each other. They were trying trick shots, curves, and other such spectacular shots, all seemingly to appear as though they were competing and trying to outdo each other. It was also obvious that they had probably played quite a bit when the daughter was younger. If I didn't know better, I presumed, they were probably reliving a part of their past vacations, as well.

After about 15 minutes of Frisbee, they quickly got out a football and began to send each other left, right, and deep for passes! They were energetic, competitive, and having a great time, all while we "relaxed" and did nothing but take in the sun and enjoy our snacks.

Then, after about 15 minutes of playing football, they quickly got out a beach tennis game and the competition seemed to increase, as dad and daughter tried to outdo each other. They were awesome to watch, as I admired the father/daughter team having a lot of fun .... while we did nothing!

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Final Vacation? - Part 2

(Continued from July 3, 2010) ....... So, we arrived at the “old destination” and we immediately sought to see if there were any remnants that would stir our memories of past vacations. After all, the sole purpose of choosing this place was to see if we could rekindle our past times together.

YES, we saw the kiddie pool – still in the same place, filled with water, filled with kids, and filled with parents making sure that their kids were safe …. Just like we used to do!

YES, the big pool was still there, filled with water, filled with people of all ages, and just daring us to jump in and have some fun together …. Just like we used to do!

YES, there were the lounge chairs at poolside, still 3 rows deep just like they used to be in the “old” days!

YES, the ground floor rooms were still just behind the 3 rows of chairs and a narrow sidewalk. When staying in one of those rooms it was as though the pool was inviting us to join in 24 hours a day! After all, just open the door, walk past 3 rows of chairs, and take a dive …. ahhhhh, instant refreshment!

YES, the place was still filled with trees that had been imported from around the world! We always thought that the over 125 trees between the pool and the ocean (all of which were also right outside of some of the rooms), seemed to be a bit much … we still do. But, it reminded us of our time together as a young family, so all was well and we checked out the trees to see if any signs would indicate the new ones – we found some!

YES, we walked to the ocean and, of course it was still there, too, filled with water, the beach filled with people, and, well, it just seemed like it was calling our names to jump in …. just like it always did!

Any changes? Well, yes, the office went from a very tiny counter and room for 2-3 people to a magnificent structure that could have held over 100 people. It had a fish tank, a library for customers, and plenty of workers waiting to help you with whatever you needed. Wow, business must have been good during our hiatus!

We finally made it to the room and, WOW! – business must have been REALLY good during our absence. The old carpeting had been replaced by nice tile (easier to keep clean, especially with the issue of beach sand), the furniture had been somewhat updated, and, now get ready for this …. it had Internet access!! I don’t believe that we were even Internet users the last time that we went to that place! I’m not sure if laptops were even affordable back then like they are now.

The little kitchen (built for one at a time) was still firmly in place with all of the amenities of home, the air conditioning was still quite cold, and, well, after our traditional inaugural vacation meal at a restaurant, we were ready to get a good night’s sleep and start reliving some memories!

The family-owned motel, long a bastion of family-type caring for their customers, was still in place, many items still in place, a few positive changes, and looking like it was inviting us to enjoy all that it had to offer!

Over the next 5 weeks, I will recount some of our vacation stories!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Final Vacation? - Part 1

As sad as it is, we might have just taken our final 5-member family vacation forever! With our daughter scheduled to graduate next spring and possibly relocate elsewhere in our country, we might never again have the chance for just the 5 of us to be together on vacation.

Ah, yes, the family vacation! Load up the diaper bag with extra diapers, get some beach and pool toys, a couple of large coolers, a playpen, extra blankets, the car seat, swimsuits, extra clothes for each person, and be sure that the oil is changed before we head about 20 hours toward our favorite vacation destination!

Well, that was certainly the drill that we used when the kids were little! A van loaded with goodies and kids just waiting to get to vacation.

Yes, year after year, until our youngest child was about 5-years-old, we traveled to the same destination each year (sometimes twice per year!) and made a lifetime of memories, including purchasing a large picture from the wall of the hotel that looked exactly like our 3-year-old daughter at the beach. She’s 22 now, but we still have that large picture.

Other memories that were developed include heading to the same kiddie pool, the same grown up pool, the same spot on the beach, and the same restaurants, all serving to make our regular vacating destination seem like a home away from home once or twice a year.

There were many years in which we also had grandparents along to help with the kids and to enjoy the vacation time together. In short, that particular destination had become OUR destination for a lifetime of memories.

However, for a myriad of reasons, we changed vacation destinations to another locale when our youngest child was 6-years-old. The new destination eventually evolved into OUR destination, as well, as more lifetime memories were made. Of course, the newest memories involved older children, playing pool and shuffleboard late at night, no diapers, more swimming in the ocean without life jackets, card games at night, and jogging in the morning.

Yes, the new destination became just as important as the old destination to us for the memories that have lasted through the years.

Well, as our baby girl is getting set to leave the nest in less than a year, it looked as though we could squeeze out one more vacation for just the five of us. It is most likely that future vacations will include less than 5 (without our daughter) or a number greater than 5, as spouses and grandchildren will enter the fray at some point.

So, where should we head for our final 5-member vacation, the old destination built with memories of little tykes or the newest destination built with memories of adolescents, teenagers, and young adults?

As you might have guessed, for the sake of nostalgia, and in an effort for all of us to recapture our youth, we chose ...... the old destination!!

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves