Family vacation

A couple of weeks ago, the kiddo and I packed up and headed south with my parents.  We were meeting up with my dad’s two brothers, sister, their spouses and some of their children and grandchildren.  At the most we had about 20 people split up between three condos (thanks to my dad’s sister for letting us use her timeshare).  We had a few days of relaxation, fun and visiting.

I wasn’t sure how the kiddo would do.  This was her first trip with a bunch of people.  Heck, it was my first trip with everyone all together like this.  We see our family a lot.  All of us live in the same time except for one uncle and his family who live about an hour away.  We see each other pretty regularly with randomly meeting for dinner.  And we always see each other for Christmas.  But, we haven’t all traveled like this together before.  Lexiana was familiar with everyone.  She was especially looking forward to having some time to play with my cousin’s daughter who is in upper elementary school, very sweet and incredibly good to Lexiana.  I just didn’t know how she’d feel with being with other people all the time. Would she be able to settle in and go to sleep at night before everyone else?  Would she be clingy?  Would she turn bashful?

My dad and the kiddo checking out a pony on one of our excursions on vacation.

Turns out I had no need to worry.  She had a heyday.  She loved being with everyone.  She chatted with everyone, went from one person to the next, told them stories, played with the other kiddos and gave many pretend doctor’s exams.  I loved watching her interact with her cousins and great-aunts and uncles (and, of course, my parents).  It warmed my heart.  It made me stop a few times and think of my grandma who passed away a few years ago.  She would have loved having us all together like this.

The trip made me thankful for a few things about my family.  The first is that we can all be together in relatively close quarters for days and not have any problems.  I don’t think that’s true for every family.  There were no arguments.  There was no fighting.  There was lots of laughter.  There were plenty of smiles.  There were hugs to go around.  It was just good to be together.  Sometimes I think I take for granted the good relationships in my family that go to my extended family.  I appreciate them all the more now because these relationships and this family is passing on to my daughter and soon-to-be second kiddo.

And that’s the second thing.  I’m so thankful my children have a family like mine to be a part of.  I grew up hanging out with my aunts, uncles and cousins.  I like that is continuing for my children.  My husband and I each have one older brother who are part of our lives, but it’s nice to have extended family part of our lives, too.  I’m blessed to have so many people I could call on for help if I need it.  I’m blessed to have so many people who love my children.

The kiddo enjoying her first meal at Krystal. It's a southern fast food tradition with my husband and me.

The third thing I’m thankful for is that I was able to take the time and go.  Two days before the trip, I got sick with a virus then our dog got injured.  I wasn’t sure if we’d make it.  I had debated about going before that because my husband wasn’t able to take off work and go with us.  I worried a bit how my introverted self would do with being around so many people for so long.  There were all sorts of reasons to think of not going.  But, I would have missed out on time with those I love.  I would have missed seeing my daughter forming relationships with her family.  I am thankful to have gone.

The fourth thing I’m thankful for is memories.  I’m thankful to have made some new memories on this trip — things like feeding some huge catfish at the dock, visiting a crazy big treehouse, taking my daughter swimming in a big pool for the first time and seeing deer all over the place.  And I’m thankful for old memories that came up.  When we were swimming, I was struck with a memory of my Aunt Glenda swinging me around in the water as a kid making a motorboat noise.  I loved it.  And I had forgotten about it.  Sometimes it’s just really good to remember where you came from.

The final thing for which I’m thankful is the love my family has for children.  It’s a legacy from my paternal grandma.  She was happiest with little ones around.  She had four of her own kids, lots of nieces and nephews and eight grandchildren.  She got to see a few great-grandchildren before she went home to heaven.  She had a spirit about her that kids loved.  My dad, his brothers and his sister all have a similar spirit.  All of them love children and have passed that on to their own children.  My dad, who is a quiet and reserved guy, always has kids coming up to him and making friends with him.  They sense his love for children.  I’m thankful my family has that.  It made for a good childhood for me and I’m happy to see it passing on to make my kiddo’s childhood happier as well.

Our family vacation wasn’t anything like the Griswalds.  There were no pranks or craziness; there was just lots of laughter, love and good times.  It was good!

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