Where once there were two, now there are many. It always blows my mind that one person, or the combination of two can create an entire family. That because two amazing people find love, people are created and those people find love and create their own little people and it grows and grows and grows. And now that I'm getting all existential and weird on you, I'll show you this:
And now I'll say this: The woman in the middle, to the upper left of me is 50% responsible for everyone you see here. I'm grateful to this lovely matriarch each and every day, and this photo (although just a brief glimpse into the many many amazing memories I have with her) reminds me of the sheer gratitude I have for the love she shows to all of these people unconditionally and the joy she brings us and my own kids.
For the past two summers, we've been lucky enough to spend a week in Ocean City, NJ. This is the special place that Sean spent his childhood summers with his entire family. His grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc all gathered here for most of their lives and darn if I don't feel privileged to get the opportunity to share that with him and watch him share that experience with our kids.
This year, we decided to spend our summer vacation at MY childhood vacation spot, Black Butte, OR. This place holds so many memories for my family and extended family. We've spent countless weeks here biking, swimming, playing tennis, poker, golf and just enjoying each others company.
This was the first year that my grandfather was not there with us which was hard and different. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like something was missing. However, it was the first year in which I got to see the kids doing what I did at their ages. To see this trip through their eyes was nostalgic, and heart warming.
It was definitely a different 'vacation' than I remember as a child. Vacations with children are hardly 'vacations' but parenting at a different location. It's still work, and biking with children attached to your bike either in a trailer, infant seat or snap on bike prevented us from gallivanting around the ranch like banshees, and we didn't quiet get the same quality time with our childless cousins. Laying by the pool is more like, swimming IN the pool helping your kids learn to swim, and managing naps and odd sleeping arrangements is never easy but the week was still lovely nonetheless.
Sean golfed more times than I can count, I got to go twice and went horse back riding which was fun. The kids would have been happy spending all day everyday in the pool but they also enjoyed riding bikes and running around the golf course at night.
My hope is that one day, when our kids are grown they will remember these two places just like Sean and I do and that one day they take their own kids themselves. I hope that they too are as appreciative of the experiences they have been given as I am today and have a clear understanding that it is only those experiences and the people we share them with that matter.
If you know me at all, you know I took more than 200 photos of this trip and without the energy to pick through and post them all, you may view them all here.