...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.

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playing at the edge of the earth

After a 12 hour road trip with two sleepy children that were coming in and out of consciousness, we arrived underneath our beach house rental in Santa Rosa Beach, Fl. We parked the car, threw open the doors, unbuckled the kids and ran straight towards the sand. As if we were kids again, we all shouted, jumped up and down, and got ourselves wet with goosebumps as the strong winds from the Gulf welcomed us. In the middle of unpacking, I found Mom and Ava by the shore for a personal greeting and was absolutely speechless with the view. I felt as though I was at the edge of the earth. I was humbled. I was scared. I felt so alive to be in the presence of God's wonders. The ocean. My mother. My daughter.

It's a big world out there

I watched Ava's natural curiosity tip toe on the wet sand, and focus on the cold rush of baby waves washing over her feet. What a beautiful moment etched in my memory - Mom and Ava holding hands. This brought back memories of my own childhood and how we'd spend our summers growing up in Queens, NY. We'd wake up Saturday morning to the smell of boiled eggs and potatoes in the apartment. Mom would have the cooler packed with hamburger patties, chips and Sunkist and Wagma and I would dig for our bathing suits before brushing our teeth. The four of us would walk the 10 blocks to the subway and drag our cooler and plastic bags filled with towels and extra clothes. The anticipation of the last stop on the F train for Coney Island made us bubble over with excitement - because to us, it felt like we were going to the other side of the world. Sun tan lotion mixed with the hot air, half naked bodies going in every direction, music blaring from store vendor booths, metal screeching against wood and children screaming with their hands in the air - mom and dad completely to us - this is what summer is made of.

After crossing the rickety boardwalk, our senses would fill with saltwater and sand. As much as Mom tried back in those days, I always refused to go into the water. Dad took me into the ocean once by carrying me on his shoulders - and I was sure the waves were going to pull me off and bury me at the bottom of the ocean and then eat me alive. He gave up after I pulled every black curl he had left on his head. There were even conspired attempts by Wagma - who pretended once she was drowning. I grabbed my tube and ran over to her. By the time I reached her, she stood up and shouted - "You made it." I looked up at her, cried and ran back - wishing she had drowned for real.

And for this very reason, I wasn't going to push Ava and Noah to jump waves on their first day. Instead, we allowed them to experience it their own way. Whether it was playing in the sand, or sleeping under the umbrellas - life for one week - was a beach.

Sand as white as snow

Trust

Come and get me

Freewill

We love You Daddy

Morning Bliss

Sunrise

Humzah & Dad at Sunset

Last dip

Taking our first family trip to the beach is somewhat nostalgic for me. I cherish those childhood memories my parents gave us [even those times I came home crying because of saltwater burning my nose]. Not having my father with us on this family vacation left us all a little empty - as so often we thought of him and how much he would have loved swimming in the water. I'd imagine him with his blue swim cap on swimming out to the deep waters, or what'd he'd say about the stingrays we saw traveling near the shore or the wonderful cool breezes every morning and night...Having my family with us on this trip was the best birthday gift I could have ever wished for as it gave me a wonderful transition remembering my childhood to now making new ones with our own children. Thank you Wagma, Masaud, and Humzah for sharing your family vacation with us and making each day so special... Thank you Greg for being the best friend ever to all of us - Thank you Roshana for having fun every single moment - I enjoyed it all with you - Thank you Mom - for being such an incredible mother and keeping us all in check. My greatest love, Aaron - thank you for making it all possible. I am so grateful that I have that kind of a family who is not into agendas but each other. I look forward to next summer - same place - same time - with all of you.


Life's a Beach

7 comments:

  1. Looks like all the planning and decisions, and stress, was well worth it - glad you had such a wonderful time and sounds like the house worked out since you're going back - sometimes just jumping in and figuring it out as you go is the best! Happy Birthday to you and Noah - what a memory for you all and a great family tradition. Some of my best memories as a teenager were on this very beach where my family would vacation - and that tradition lives on today over 20 years later - some family still go with their kids now! Thank you for the kind comments, but really, that is what family is for - call on me anytime - love to help anyway I can. Its the old party planner in me - still my dream job! Love you guys and hope all are refreshed from being immersed in nature and all her beauty, the waves, soft white sand, cool sea breezes and of course, those Florida Gulf of Mexico Sunsets....ahhhhh!

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  2. Absolutely love the stories and photos of you and Wagma!

    What an incredible beach!

    Corbin and I had a bride and groom that when they were married they became 7 strong (5 children from previous marriages). They had vacationed on that very beach before, so on their honeymoon they took the whole family back--drove with all 5 kids.

    Not having children, at the time I kind of thought they were nuts... "It's your HONEYMOON, you can always take the kids to the beach, but your honeymoon is only once." A few months later they came to our Client Appreciation Party, still beaming with that unbridled passion that comes so easily for newlyweds, and I asked so how was the honeymoon? Ross replied with a big grin, "The kids had a blast!" And when he said it, just thinking about it, made him look like a kid again.

    Being on such a beautiful beach with family and not one, but two birthday celebrations...well, that would make happiness so thick you could touch it and love enter with every breath and never ever leave...

    Sooo wish we could've come with you.

    Days are made for family...

    -Dave & Corb
    (Oh, and Aaron deserves another big hug and kiss for the pinnacle of all birthday surprises...in the entire Universe...of all time...ever...since man and woman have been saying 'I do'...seriously)

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  3. Island Girl, what a perfect name for you! I love it!! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes and helping me make this trip happen. If it wasn't for you and your expertise on the area, vacationing to the beach - and words of encouragement through the stress of planning - I wouldn't have these photos or memories - So I owe you big!

    How wonderful and amazing to hear that you and your family have been vacationing and reuniting every year for the past 20 years... together..and continue to do so. I hope that we follow suit and start doing the same...

    Family traditions of having a reunion at a favorite location every year is like food for the soul - nourishing our memories and reminding us of where we come from... It takes a huge effort of everyone's part to get there - but afterwards.. we find that we are closer for doing so.

    Look forward to hearing about your trip to the Bahamas Island Girl!
    xoxo

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  4. Dave - you always make me smile when I read your comments. Thank you for sharing that story with me. You said it so perfectly...

    "Days are made for family"

    It took me about 500 words to say that... you so get me. Actually - you get the big picture - and that is why I cherish you and Corbin so much...

    Do you guys have a family reunion spot or annual tradition with your extended families? And if not, have you thought about starting one?....

    We look forward to our trip in Sept with you guys...xoxox

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  5. Zarlacht and Aaron

    Masaud and I cannot thank you enough for making us apart of this beautiful vacation - Seeing our children grow together like we grew up together is a blessing I so hold dear. I love you both.

    Wagma

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  6. Oh, Zarlacht! What a beautiful and lovely post! It made me smile and almost cry. I had my very best moments on the beach. For sure. And everything that means freedom for me is associated with it. There I spent the most beautiful hours in my childhood. I was always wandering alone, imagining all kinds of stories...
    I am so glad you had such a great family time on the seaside. I need some of that too. Maybe this summer.
    Love,
    Julie

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  7. Hi Julie! So wonderful to hear that you had such memorable days on the beach! Are there any particular moments you remember the most?
    I had no idea the value in raising kids by the beach. We all got so much out of it. I hope and truly wish for you, Zoe and Oz to get to the beach and create some fond memories of your own! Just do it!

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Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo

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