The annual family beach vacation we started last year, faced many obstacles this year. Aaron and I deliberated back and forth whether or not this was something we should forego and pick back up when the kids are older. My parents and sister were traveling out of the country, work was piling up, and the need to save now - more than ever - were all working against the dream.
The recent adventure to PV would have sufficed our need to bury 40 toes in the sand - except our family is really a bigger one - and extends into my own. There is something very nostalgic about family traditions. When I was young, we'd spend almost every weekend with our cousins - I can still smell Coney Island - hear the chatter of aunts and uncles coming in and out of Bebe's kitchen - and see my Bobo jan, over a century old, sitting in the backyard and watching all the grand [and great-grand] kids play baseball with tennis rackets. Many of my fond memories of childhood reside in those years - where weekend reunions with extended family were as common as the regular work week.
On shoestring budgets - each family came together to raise their kids as they were raised by generations before them. By the age of 10, all of that stopped, and my parents' obligation to save prevailed over childhood memories ever since.
Before using a lesson my Mom instilled - which was to refrain from making promises or plans - because "you never know what's going to happen tomorrow," I promised Ava we'd all go to the beach. No one forshadowed the recession. Aaron losing his job... or Dad's extended stay in Kabul. But I made the risky promise anyway - not accepting - how fast next summer would really come...
So when my bid for a new project was accepted, and the thought of saving it felt right and responsible, I decided that saving my promise to Ava - was even moreso.
The day after we returned from PV, Ava asked if she was going to go to the beach with Humzah. She recounted the van we rented...flying a kite with "uncle greg" and other memorable souvenirs from last year's trip. Enough said - the trip was back on! The night before we left, I stayed up all morning to make goody bags and tshirts for each child... All the while, thinking, how this was going to be our family tradition -
for our children to grow up and remember - together.
We enjoyed a wonderful week in Seacrest, Florida - the beaches of South Walton are truly maginificient in every way - making it one of the top family destinations in the US.
The karma from the gesture brought us unexpectedly to an Andante Penthouse where for one week, it was our home... where from the doors of my master bedroom, I stepped onto the beach... family gathered around the kitchen for gourmet meals prepared by chef Masaud, and children camped out in their bunkroom.
The Andante afterall, is a "smart house" where it took us 3 days alone to master the remote control. Everything is automated - from lights to curtains and fireplaces to thermostats - what we loved about this experience - was that it was 2 vacations in 1. Close the sliding doors, and your senses would deny that it's even summer. The decor, amenities and layout make you feel like you're in a Manhattan high-rise. Open them, and your senses will flood you with what summers are all about...
As we watched the waves crest and fall, underneath the sunset, we thanked the beach for being a gracious host to our families... and then listened.
"The beauty you see in your children... and your family... and for life...
Is as natural and clear as my body.
As infinite as the horizon you see here.
Forget not, that you are as much apart of me, as I am to you...
... and I will see you next summer!"