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.
Last 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.
If 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.