Vacations have always been important to my husband and I but I never realized just how much they meant to my children until recently. Oh, I knew they had a blast and looked forward to them every year but what I didn’t know was how it made them feel.
Both of my children are grown and have families of their own. My daughter Cindy married Dean and they have two children, Bronson who is 3 and Baby Ally who is 6 months. My son David recently married Anna and they are eager to start their own little family.
IN THE BEGINNING
When I met my husband, Phillip, I had never taken a real vacation. I was too busy taking care of my daughter and mother. I had too many responsibilities and taking a vacation seemed to be a luxury I just couldn’t afford. When he found out I hadn’t taken a vacation in so long he was genuinely shocked. To him, vacations were a time to completely relax and unwind.
He was determined he was going to bring me around to his way of thinking when it comes to vacations. He piled us all in the car the first summer after we were married and off to the beach we went. I couldn’t wait for our first vacation together to start. I remember telling him that I kept expecting something to go drastically wrong, but it didn’t.
We spent an entire week just relaxing and playing together. That vacation was the beginning of our vacation tradition. No matter how busy we were or how tight the budget, we always took one entire week during the summer for our family to recharge and reconnect.
EVERY GOOD THING MUST COME TO AN END
Cindy moved out of state after she got married because Dean was in the Marine’s and stationed in California. That is a long way from Alabama! They came home every chance they got and we went there for the birth of our grandson.
Since she is nine years older than David he was still home finishing high school. Our family vacations continued even though we were now minus Cindy and my mother.
When David graduated high school he went to a college that was close enough for him to come home on the weekends. He came home for the summer after his first year and announced that he was not going back to college, he was joining the Marine Corp.
Phillip and I continue taking our vacation every summer no matter what. Now it was just the two of us. We feel it is important to have that time to spend concentrating only on each other. We have come to realize just how much we love “our time” although it is still a little strange not having our children with us.
THE FAMILY VACATIONS TRADITION CONTINUES
Vacations for my children since they left home have always been coming back to see the family, until last year. That’s when Cindy called me and tentatively told me that they had rented a place at the beach for their family and would not be coming home that summer. I didn’t know what to say or how to react. Selfishly I wanted her to spend any leave time they got with us.
She explained that she had been telling Dean about our family vacations and how much they meant to her. How she knew that at least one week every year she would have her parents undivided attention. She wanted her son to know that his parents would always make time for him like we did for them.
I was speechless. Although I was sad that I wouldn’t see them I was so proud of what she said. When I told Phillip I could see the pride in his eyes too. It made him feel so good that she understood what vacations were all about.
David has also started his vacation tradition with Anna. Last summer they took their first vacation together before he was to be deployed. They went to a cabin in the mountains where they could spend some time making their own memories.
He came home and spent a couple of days with us and the rest of his family first, then we watched as he and Anna drove off to spend some time alone. He told us that he needed Anna to understand how much she meant to him.
Of course, I wanted him to stay home as long as he could but I also knew that this was important for them. They were continuing the tradition that we had taught him.
It never occurred to me while we were on our many trips together that we were teaching our children a very important life lesson. Scheduling time with your family is a priority, not a luxury.
I am thankful every day that Phillip was the kind of man that understood that and he, in turn, taught me. I am even more thankful that my children always knew that they were worth making time for.