I’ve been going to Myrtle Beach for the past two decades with my parents, and this was my first year going AS a parent.
It was an out-of-body experience to show you the ocean that I remember as a little girl asking “Are we there yet?” a million times on the way… sticking my head out the window like a dog to smell the sea air once we got close… not even waiting to get in a swimsuit to run out and touch the ocean once we got there… and taking a bottle of sand and shells home when we had to leave so I could look at and feel the ocean until we went again the next year.
There I was, holding you, showing you that very ocean, watching your eyes widen with amazement at the roaring waves and endless sandy beaches (which you soon tried to eat).
It was different being there as a mommy. And I’m not talking about the 18 million extra bags of stuff you have to carry down to the beach to keep a toddler entertained, rested and shaded all day. It was different because you were experiencing something new. We were making such amazing memories together. And it was an entire week of uninterrupted family time.
I’ve always appreciated my time on the beach a little more. Even as a teen, I’d get up unusually early (especially for a teen!) to run on the beach. The tide is too high and it gets too hot if you do it too late. Plus, I didn’t want to waste prime sunning hours! (ah, the days of not worrying about wrinkles!)
This year, I still got up early to run, but I appreciated my time on the beach in a different way. Each day I would think “Oh, only x-amount of days left! We better make the most of it” I would do things like pack our lunches and extra drinks so we didn’t waste precious beach time going back up to the room. I’d pack a toy you hadn’t seen before just to see the surprise on your face, or plan somewhere new for us to go so we could make new memories. And when little things would pop up that I’d normally complain about or pick a fight over, I just let them slide because I didn’t want to sour the day. As a result, it was THE most relaxing, fun and genuinely enjoyable week we’ve had in YEARS!
It got me thinking that I need to be in a “vacation state of mind” more often. Why not do little things to spend more time together? Why not proactively look for ways to make life more fun? Why complain when you know it’ll sour the day?
So, even though we can’t always physically be on vacation, I’m going to make more of an effort to stay there mentally. Although I will miss seeing you try to eat the sand every day. That was pretty funny.