Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Vacations are relaxing right?

Last week was an interesting trip outside the Brentwood bubble. After a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles, I am reflecting on how vacations change as your family grows up. Since we had our first child, we lived away from our family for eleven years. As my husband's career grew, so did our number of moves. That is the case for many families these days; move to get ahead.

Six states later, we moved back home to Brentwood. Our plan of staying with Nashville-based healthcare companies worked and we were back home with all of the grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins. But all those years we lived away from home, our vacations were to our hometown of Brentwood or meeting the whole gang at the beach in Fort Morgan, Alabama. We were always taking those few precious vacation days to see our families.

Now, we have been home for nearing eight years, the kids are all teenagers and and our vacations are away from home. We are blessed to see our families on a regular basis so we are more free to explore. We started going skiing every year after Christmas. We started tying family vacations in and around cities that had soccer tournaments, volleyball tournaments, and in the last two years, colleges that were on the short list. College visits alone have taken us to Chicago, Winston Salem, Greenville, Knoxville, and Ohio. We have been on mission trips together to New Orleans, Juarez, Mexico and the girls went to Biloxi, Mississippi. Our before mentioned oldest child went to Europe with a school group two springs ago. We grow and evolve but one thing has stayed the same. Our family loves to travel and be together, no matter what the destination or the activity.

This last vacation to visit friends in Hermosa Beach, California, we tried to do it all. We hit the beach, we rode bikes on the famous beach cities strand, we went to a theme park, we went on the ocean in a boat, we toured Warner Brothers Studio, watched our beloved sunsets and we enjoyed the July 4 fireworks. Our first day on the beach provided a special moment as the dolphins came very close in to shore and were sufing the waves. Our family was thrilled to see such a rare sight and knew we were privileged to witness the beauty of nature. All of it wore us completely out, but it was so great because we were together.

Most strangely, we took a detour around a wreck on Los Angeles' 405 and ended up passing Michael Jackson's funeral motorcade, hearse and all, on their way to the Staple Center for his memorial. Later, we again passed the family in Beverly Hills following their family luncheon. As weird it was to run into the Jackson family unintentionally twice in one day, it did give me pause to reflect on my own children. MJ's kids are going to miss their dad and will have no more family moments with him. I am grateful for each and every day with them, vacation or not. I do love what great travelers they are and I hope they continue to explore the world, even if they need a weeks rest after each vacation.

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