This is the view from the beach house we have rented for “family vacation”. For the last few years some time  between Thanksgiving and New Years my daughters will ask “is there family vacation next year?” To which I respond “do you want to go on family vacation?” Family vacation is code for mom plans and mom pays. I am blest that my girls and their guys want to go on vacation with me and that I can afford to do that. The planning usually starts in January with “where should we go and when are you available?” This year there were emails back and forth with links to possible beach houses. And by the beginning of February the beach house was reserved for the third week in July.

I enjoy beach vacations but I am a brat so I want to be right on the beach and I want nothing to do but be with my family, read, chat and sip ice tea. This year’s family vacation is in Broadkill Beach, Delaware. The beach house is a block from the bay. It is a short walk over the dunes to the beach. The weather has been great a little warm but if you sit right at the edge of water you don’t feel as hot. My youngest daughter’s golden retriever has joined us complete with his own life jacket and water toys. I have read 2 books (A Secret Kept by Tatina De Rosnay and The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thorton Wilder) and been able to watch  5 episodes Newsroom – the new Alan Sorkin drama on HBO. I don’t have HBO so it was exciting to learn the beach house did. We also have played Wits and Wagers – fun game.

I have had the opportunity to share with my daughters stories of other beach adventures. As a child I remember going to Blackpool to visit my Uncle Bill. As a child, Blackpool was a magical place. There was Blackpool Tower, the circus, trolleys going up and down the boardwalk, fish and chips, donkey rides on the beach. The beach was huge and you could walk out “forever”.  I have a vivid memory of playing soccer with my brother and sister, when suddenly my brother when flying across the beach. He had slipped on something – a jelly fish. There were many jellyfish on the beach that summer. We would later learn that because of a change in the Gulf stream there were man of war in Blackpool. Yuck.  On another note, because Blackpool is in England, you don’t water a bathing suit on the beach – it is too cold. Another beach memory is taking my “little sister” to the Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook to be exact. My “little sister” is 12 years younger than I am so when I was old enough to drive she was still young. I remember standing at the edge of the water and a big wave came and knocked us over. Luckily I was holding her hand and I kept holding on to her – that was scary.  As a teenager, I have memories of day trips to the shore with friends – baby oil, little bikinis and Parkway traffic. I remember snorkeling with Bruce on our honeymoon in St Thomas and being afraid of the fish. His comment was “you are the one who isn’t suppose to be here – this is where they live” Family trips when my girls were young to Wildwood Crest, Island Beach State Park and North Carolina. And trips to the beaches of St Thomas with my girls when they were in high school. And family vacations with my sister and her family to North Carolina and Rhode Island.

As I was packing for this trip, I realized I didn’t have to pack sand toys. No one is building sand castles on this trip to the beach. Things change. But the waves continue to roll in and out. And family vacation becomes more and more precious.