Once Miranda came into our lives, I knew I wanted her also to enjoy vacations. So I have made it my mission to make sure we do something special each year.
The first year, we went to the mountains. Some family joined us, and we made a lot of great memories. I got really sick and was in bed for a bit of the week and Miranda was still napping twice a day, and we didn't do much, but we did something. I will always cherish that first trip away and always laugh at how much I had to pack to make the mountain house pretty much a replica of our house at home.
The next year, we went back to the mountains. Different house, but same area. By this time, Miranda was too big for the pack and play so we put her in a twin size bed. We installed a bed rail and hoped for the best, but she crawled out of that bed each and every day and that vacation marked the end of naps for her as well as easy bed times. Two years later and we are still dealing with her crawling out of bed at bedtime and wanting to play. Still, I will always look back on that week with joy as we really had a great time overall.
The next year we went to the beach. Oh, how wonderful that was for us! I decided then and there that we would continue to visit the beach and often as we could and that the ocean was where we were meant to be. We talked about that week all year long.
This past week, we went back to the beach. The salt water, tram cars, Bros custard, and sandy beaches are what vacation is to me. This year, my mom joined us for the whole week, and that was a real treat for all of us. The weather was wonderful, and we had the best vacation yet. This vacation was the first one that did not feel like a relocation. This vacation felt like an actual, well, vacation!
Now don't get me wrong. There was no sleeping in. There were no naps on the beach. I brought down a fresh new book that never even got opened. I did read the back of several suntan lotion bottles and once, in the bathroom, the first few pages of Entertainment Weekly. And yet, it was still the best week yet.
Sandcastles were built, seashells were collected, suntans were worked on, and boardwalk games were played. Bedtime was a breeze for the most part because Miranda was so exhausted each night. I taught my daughter how to pee in the ocean, and she taught me how to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. We laughed, we shared stories, we made memories and we got some real quality time together.
I am not sure how much Miranda will remember of this age, but I know that I will remember it all. And if in time, the memories just become feelings, that is ok, too. I get a feeling when I walk on the beach - a familiar feeling of all the times I have walked on the beach before. Walking with my dad, walking with my friends during Senior Week after high school, walking with my girlfriends on our annual GWA (Girls Weekend Away), walking with my husband on our honeymoon, walking with my best friend a few weeks after Allie died. And now? Walking with Miranda. The sand remembers, and I count on it to do just that.
I wonder what beach we will go to next year? I can't wait to start planning. For now, though, I want to keep this vacation close to my heart as it really was so wonderful.
I love a good vacation.