Marc and I are planning our annual family pilgrimage to the beach. We've done this many times, and every year the adventure takes on a different personality than the one before. Oh I don't think it's because we've changed so much; rather, it's because our children have.
I remember the very first time we took all four children to the beach. I believe it was the first year we were married, so they would have been 7, 9, 11 and 13 years old. What on earth were we thinking? All but the 9-year-old were girls, and those ages are about as far apart in maturity as they can be. The week was a nightmare, hell with a view, and it's burned in my memory probably forever. Oh, it was awful. The older two girls had one mission and one mission only - to meet and hang out with as many boys as humanly possible.
The younger two - mine from a previous marriage - did everything in their power to throw water on that plan. What resulted was a week of fighting, bickering, squabbling and tattling. I made a blood pact with my husband after that that we would never, EVER, travel anyplace together again as a whole family. I wasn't sure everyone would survive it.
Of course, the pact didn't last, and that's OK. As the years have come and gone, we truly became a real family, comfortable enough with each other to, well, be comfortable with each other. Our children all love one another, and time spent together these days, though rare (they're all grown now) is treasured.
But back to this year's family trip. We'll get a house on a beach along the Gulf, and the kids will come and bring their significant others, and Marc and I will actually be able to relax and enjoy each other. I love seeing who each of our children has grown up to be. They're very cool young people now.
Now, what they don't know (unless they read this) is that, for the first time ever, Marc and I will take off on an actual vacation to an actual resort this year, too. A resort for adults only. My youngest will be indignant, my son will think "party at the house," and the oldest two won't care at all. Marc and I will sleep late and do whatever we want whenever we want. We've earned it. We will dance and laugh and shop and snorkel and surf. Of course, if my youngest were to witness any of this, she would be mortified. In her mind, we are merely props, there to hover in the background of whatever exciting adventure she may be having at the moment.
Ahh, yes. I'm liking this stage of life better and better.