Let me start off with the fact that I did not grow up poor. I am the youngest of three siblings that lived with a single Mom. I didn't have my Dad in the picture till much later in life. With that said, growing up I was in awe of friends who would say that they go away every summer or go on these vacations around the country. Now my mother did the best she could and looking back the only “vacation” I remember, was going to my Aunt Na’s house who lived on a golf course. I would go and my cousin and I would chase down golf balls and throw them farther or hide them! She had the best house. One of those houses with what seemed like a million floors (I think four floors in all.) Never did my family go on those long drive vacations to the shore, or “Hershey Park” or anything like that. We had growing up “Playland” in Rye, New York that constituted my big vacations. Going to an old amusement park. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t know any better but always in the back of my mind, I knew if and when I had children, I would want them to experience vacations in a much bigger and better way. And I did.
When we moved to Missouri, little did we know that Missouri had a ton of attractions, museums and a great Zoo - which of course, was free. My oldest son Patrick had to have made a record for the youngest guest to go through the Budweiser tour before the age of three! Now, now - we always brought friends visiting to the tour and had Patrick in tow. We would drive back to New York when the kids were little, stay and visit with family and stay in hotels . Our favorite time as a family would be our trips into New York City.
This was taken on the top of the Empire States Building and was the spot that Billy asked (told me) I was going to be his girlfriend some twenty four years ago!
We drove down to Florida to visit with friends and go on their boat and clam dig. The kids loved staying in hotels and running around and all those dinners out. When we moved to Florida, we made the big trip to Disney. That was always a dream of mine as a child, as it was new back then and looked magical. I knew I wanted the kids to experience that.
That smile says it all. In fact that smile never left her face. Not sure if the boys had the same great time as Maria and I did! I remember walking down the street in Magic Kingdom and I started to cry. I didn’t want the kids to see me cry but got so overwhelmed with the feeling that God had blessed us to be able to give to our kids what I didn’t have. I sat in that moment and could still “go back” to that moment even now.
Then came the skiing trips. We had the opportunity to go with Liz and her family skiing. Those trips were a blast. Living in Florida, you never get that experience of snow and cold weather let alone being able to ski! The kids loved it and even today, we are trying to plan another ski trip this winter because it really has been too long!
The boys took to snowboarding as Maria was skiing down “Black Diamond” runs before the age of ten! I remember we went tubing and as I was being pulled up the hill, again the tears came. Thankfully, no one saw but I can remember clear as day, the crisp snow flakes hitting my face and the sky filled with stars and having that quiet moment with God, thanking HIM yet again for HIS blessings.
What I am trying to say in this blog, is that I’m not boo hooing about not having the kind of trips my children have had. I am so grateful and appreciative to have given them these great trips that I did not experience as a child. I am blessed that my children get it. Get the fact that these are blessings (that and I have a tendency to remind them “how many trips did Mommy go on as a kid? - none - that’s right!) They, too, are blessed with wonderful friends who have brought them away on their vacations on yachts, beach houses, deep sea fishing trips, etc.. The great thing about those trips, they appreciate it even more and enjoy telling you all about it when they come home.
You make the trip what it is. Even trips to our local beach, we make it fun. We even stood over night in a hotel on the beach that was twenty minutes from our house, just because! I hope one day my children will do what we have taught them to do when they have children of their own, appreciate God’s gifts no matter how big or how small. I hope you take some time out today to remember your childhood vacations and remind your children how blessed they are to have their vacations as well!
Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time! Now pass me the sunscreen - I’m off to Marco Island.
Marco Island 2010 with the girls. Annual trip that will take place next Monday! Stay tuned…….