Family Vacation

I still remember the first time my husband and I took a beach vacation together.  I was pregnant with my daughter, and we wanted to go on a final trip as a couple before we started our family.   We flew to Sanibel Island in Florida, where we rented a beachfront condo and spent the week relaxing in the sun and basically falling in love with Sanibel.  In the years to come, we returned to Florida as often as we could, bringing our children with us.  I honestly think that one of the reasons we like Florida so much is simply because we have so many happy memories of our family vacations there.

IMG_0022Last week, my husband and I spent yet another week in Florida, sharing a vacation home on Marco Island with my daughter, son-in-law and our baby grandson.  We walked the nearby beach, swam in the pool and even went on a sight-seeing cruise.  It was our first  family vacation that included our grandson, which made it even more fun and special.  Especially when I walked the beach with him and thought of all the time that had passed since I had walked a Florida beach when I was pregnant with his mother.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that I am actually a grandmother now.  It doesn’t seem so very long ago when I was a young mother myself, and when a family vacation entailed a whole lot of planning and preparation.  I remember making “busy bags” to keep the kids occupied on the long car rides and spending so much time making sure their suitcases were properly packed that I usually forgot stuff I wanted to put in my own suitcase.   And what I forgot was usually something that I really needed, like a swimsuit.  Or underwear.  Vacations back then were fun, but they were also a lot of work.

And yet here I am, a sixty-year old grandmother whose own two “kids” are all grown up now, one of them with a baby of her own.  And I’m gradually getting used to this new season of my life, and realizing that it brings its own gifts.  It truly was a joy to have our grandson along on this trip, and to be in the position of simply helping as his parents took good care of him.

IMG_4094If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to enjoy more vacations with my children and their families, and I look forward to that possibility.  But even if that doesn’t happen, even if this is our last family trip to Florida, I’ll be content.  Because I already have enough good memories to last a lifetime.

72 thoughts on “Family Vacation

    • There’s advantages for sure! And honestly, I would never want to go back to my teenage years. In a perfect world, I would have the wisdom and patience that comes with age, with the strength and vitality (not to mention eyesight) of my youth. But, since we don’t live in a perfect world, I tend to agree with you that getting older isn’t really so bad.

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  1. Words like busy bags speak very strongly to my heart. They remind me of many such journeys too when I could barely enjoy my vacations for all the worrying and running of lists in my head before, during and after the holiday.

    But although those crazy holidays are somewhat over, your post gently tugs me back to them. To now return and savour each precious moment in those beautiful days, each opportunity God gave me to love and care and protect my children. They might have been stressful moments back then, but today, your words help me look back and say I was blessed to have lived those days.

    Thanks, Ann. And welcome home.

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    • Thank you so much! And I know just what you mean. Yes, those vacations were a bit stressful, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. There is something deeply satisfying about knowing that we are taking good care of our kids, and the memories we have of our times together are so very precious. It really was a gift…. Take care, my friend!

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  2. So sweet. Someday I hope to be in that season also. I’ve been to Sanibel Island once…so lovely. My last pre-mom trip was to the actual Bridges of Madison County(remember the movie) in Iowa just over 20 years ago. It was hot and my husband made me pose for the usual pregnant mom photos. Seems like it was just yesterday and 20 years have passed in a blur.

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    • What a fun trip to go on before you had your first child! And I know what you mean about it seeming like only yesterday. I can remember my husband and my’s first trip down there so very well. We thought we were quite daring at the time, heading off to Florida to rent a condo. It was an adventure, and it turned out well!

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  3. I grew up from 3 to 16 going to Myrtle Beach yearly with my parents.
    Now, at 30 married with 2 kids of my own, we still go as a full family (my family and my mom and dad)
    Lots of great memories and my kids LOVE it. I couldn’t imagine just me and my husband taking the kids- we’d be more exhausted by the time we got home than any other time. Lol

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    • How fun that you all go together! I’m hoping that’s a tradition in our family as our grandson grows (and, with luck, we get another grandchild or two). And you are exactly right about vacations with just the parents and the kids when they are young….it was fun, but it was also exhausting! That’s why I’m glad we were there with my daughter and son-in-law. With all of us pitching in, baby care was easy!

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      • Yup- my parents go to bed early so the girls stay in the room with them and my husband and I get nights to watch movies, go out to eat and do other stuff since we’re both nighttime people.
        We also take the kids, they relax, they take the kids and we relax. I saw a couple last year with 3 kids under 5 with only 2 adults. It wore me out just looking at them. My mom and I got on an elevator and 2 women got off with about 6 kids between them. I like taking 2 kids and 4 adults- my almost 3 year old is HYPER, the soon to be 8 year old is much easier.

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  4. This brought tears to my eyes Ann, what a blessing … my dad said if he knew grandparenting was such fun he would have skipped the first part 🙂
    All Care and No Responsibility .. hoping that you will enjoy many more and this cute fella will have a store of memories for when his grandparents are gone 🙂

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  5. I’m so glad you had such a lovely time with your family, Ann! And your first holidays with your grandson! That’s so special. And I hope you’ll add many more of these beautiful memories. 😊

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  6. I really hope to have grandchildren and be able to travel with them someday, Ann. I remember the fun we had on trips with our daughters when they were young, and would love to re-live those memories. I hope I will still have the energy.

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    • I hope you get to take grandkids along on your trips, too! You’ll have the energy (as long as you work in the occasional nap, trust me on this) and it will be something they always remember. I bet your daughters loved traveling with you!

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  7. I know what you mean – it is hard to believe sometimes – but then the joy and love of being a grandma is so overwhelmingly wonderful – it doesn’t even matter! I wouldn’t trade it for ANYthing! Not being young – not being beautiful… being a grandma is the greatest joy of ALLL! ❤

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    • I couldn’t agree more, Jodi! It is the greatest!!!! My grandson came over tonight (with his parent’s help, of course) to “trick or treat” in his penguin outfit and he had the biggest smile on his face as he came in…..my heart just melted!

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  8. At this age, every minute spent with our children and grandchildren is a gift. It’s nice to read about your vacation, which sounds like it’s almost become a family tradition. Maybe your grandson will be standing on that beach someday with his grandchild, reminiscing about time spent there with you and his mom.

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    • What a lovely thought, Des! I really do hope that the family tradition will carry on, and that my grandson will remember his vacations with us with fondness. And I agree that every minute spent with our kids and grandkids is an incredible gift!

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  9. Beautiful post! It touched my heart as I too am remembering being a young ‘mom’ just yesterday to my four children, and now my children have kids of their own.It is an incredible journey and you really portray that in this post.

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  10. Your vacation sounds lovely! No grandchildren yet, but I look forward to times like these. My grandparents lived on Sanibel Island during the winters when I was a girl and we went there many times. The gulf coast is a beautiful area!

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    • I would love to have a winter place on Sanibel…how lucky that your grandparents did! It’s gotten a bit too crowded during the “on season” now, but I still love that place. We always enjoy our visits there and also on nearby Marco Island. And you’re right, having a grandchild along makes it extra special!

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  11. It’s a very surreal feeling when your children have children and you watch them do with their children what you did with them. It’s hard to explain, really. It’s just something you have to experience, and the future only brings more of the same. I’m glad you had this experience and I pry there are many more in the future..:)

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    • Thanks, George! I hope to have many more too. And you’re right, it is surreal to watch our kids become parents themselves. I also admit I kind of liked the fact that when my grandson woke up in the night, it was my daughter and son-in-law who got up with him, while I slept peacefully on! LOL!

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