My family's hit the same vacation spot for 30 years.

Back in my angst-ridden teen years, I sometimes wished that we'd go elsewhere. I'd flip through RCI catalogs and wish we'd take advantage of the membership perks and trade for "exotic" and "adventurous" vacations in places like Colorado or Key West or Maine. But, every year, April or June, we'd be back at the beach.

An hour and a half from home — same pool, same couch, same restaurants, different year.

Looking back on it now, I am in love with the consistency … in love with the bond and the traditions it spawned. Like a birthday or anniversary, it's a worn groove in my mind, a trigger for reflection and memory — each week a notable notch on my personal timeline.

I remember the bathing suits I wore — the Little Miss Piggy one that was stolen from the clothesline and my first real bikini, purple with lime green flowers. I remember the tanning lotions I swore by (whatever happened to Bain de Soleil anyway?!) and the lemon I used to bleach my hair … orange. Jumping pictures and blog posts. The friends that came with, visited and crashed. A billion books read, pages moistened (and ruined) by the salt spray of the sea. The long, getting lost drives we took inland. Sitting on the stairwell by the office, attempting to catch enough wi-fi to log on to AOL. That Relient K cd I put on repeat and wasted an entire vacation brooding over. And I remember the initial wariness and eventual acceptance that followed the inclusion of Kelsi and then Amanda in our annual getaway. Then there was the first time the Mr. joined the party …


These days, Kelsi's mom blends strong daiquiris and passes them around. Wyatt's taken his dad's place as the fish in the pool. The guys — Dad and Larry, included — gather around a daily crossword. There's a dozen people waiting to soothe Miles' cries. The Mr. flies kites. Amanda and I play with camera settings, taking pictures of the boys we love. Books have been replaced by Kindles. I wear a floppy hat and spf 70 on my face. We've got room wi-fi. The condo's been redone. It's been updated and it's well-maintained. It's all, every bit, so good. And this year? Despite TS Debby's attempts at raining us out, we had another wonderful week. I realize now how grateful I am for such a cheap, easy getaway. It's the one vacation I truly don't need a vacation from when it ends. Enjoying the company of the people I know and love best, free to be me, certain that I have nothing else to do but chill, I can truly "put the world away from a minute." 

Like I said, it was a good week. I want another.