I often imagined the sort of family vacations I’d have when and if I was ever lucky enough to become a father. They were based on the trips I took as a young boy, whether it be to the Cape with my parents or Wildwood with my grandparents, I imagined walking along the beach with my children and finding seashells and maybe even taking the tramcar up and down the boardwalk. It would be peaceful and quiet, my wife and I hand in hand, my children smiling and taking in the beautiful ocean views.
Well, since those days, I’ve become a husband to a beautiful woman and have two fantastic children. We’ve been away together, both to the cape and wildwood, we’ve flown to Aruba and been to a friends house in FL. We’ve been away quite a bit and it’s always so amazing, but this year… we’ll…
We decided to stay in a beautiful historic resort… the kids were in awe when we pulled up, “dad are staying in a castle!!??” It seemed so perfect. What could possibly go wrong?
For one thing, the resort was surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and has three pools… sounds great until you realize that my youngest would rather eat vegetables than go near water, which wouldn’t have been a problem if my other son wasn’t such an avid water-sport enthusiast, hurling himself into any pool or lake with all the foresight of a Labrador going after a stick, leaving his younger brother in tears far behind on land.
There’s always the beach though, right? Mom and dad decided to take the clan to a boat launch that would take us across the Atlantic and over to a beautiful island for the day. We’re all packed up and it takes us ten minutes to get everything out of the car (coolers, beach bags slung over our shoulders and chairs being dragged out of the trunk). We are finally get everybody ready, but of course everyone now needs to go to the bathroom. After what seems like hours and hundreds of pounds of supplies we finally walk down to the pier only to see the captain untieing his boat from the dock tie and Capt Crunch tells us he’s sorry but he’s not doing any more boat trips today.
Yes we called ahead. Yes, we stopped at the store first to make a reservation, yes the woman at the desk gave me the address for the boat and yes she told me that it runs all day and night. Yet, somehow after got down to the pier got unpacked walked all the way down to the pier with two kids and 40 bags and the guy said he’s not doing any more trips today.
So through tears we drag the kids back to the car after failing our oldest who’s body has now become Gumby like. He apparently has wanted to go on a boat his, “entire life”, since he “was like three.” We have now become enemies number 1 and 2. After what seems like all the tears in both their bodies had run their course we finally get back to the hotel l. We then start the process over and get completely packed up to walk down to the private beach at the hotel… we have all our NEW bags packed up and even Oliver is happily making his way down.
We take two steps out of the hotel and Jackson informs us he has to freaking POOP! On a dime we stop, turn face and start walking into the hotel, both silent, afraid the other might snap! Father and son get all the way into the hotel and son informs dad he doesn’t need to go to the bathroom anymore, and now wants to use this opportunity to tell me all about how he doesn’t want to go to the beach anymore.
This can’t get any worse right? As Jax and I are getting ready to walk out Steph and Oliver walk back inside because Oliver has to take a crap now. It’s now 2:00pm, we left the house at 10:00am to go to the beach and we still haven’t gotten to any beach, no sand, no water… nothing. Just toilets and tears. (Eventually we made it to the beach, although according to Staph, the prime sun had already passed us by). 🙄
Luckily there was enough peanut butter bagels and apple juice for the boys and more than enough sun for mom. While the whole trip seemed like the plot of a movie staring Clark Griswold, there’s always enough fun and laughs to keep things interesting.
I still vividly remember the trips to Wildwood with Nan and Pop and would consider then some of the best times of my life. I’m confident that Jax and Ollie will always remember the feeling of family and love on their trips they take with us. I guess you could say whether it be a National Lampoon style vacation or not, having time away with family is the best kind of vacation. .
But guess what? Maybe one day Jax will claim to vividly recall this family vacation and say,. “Remember the summer when you wouldn’t let us go on a boat!???” Maybe, sighing nostalgically on his own yacht, he’ll tell us it was, “the best summer vacation he’d ever had!”