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

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