We just got home yesterday from our annual family vacation to Myrtle Beach. This is the 19th year for me - my family started going when I was 15 along with my maternal grandparents and my aunt and two cousins. Now it’s my parents, brother (+ friend or girlfriend) and my family heading down each year. And while we’ve lost some people along the way, one to death, others to busyness of life, it now feels like a second home that we visit each summer, counting the days to next year’s trip the moment we leave this year’s.
I learned several things during our most recent trip to Myrtle and thought I’d share. Some serious, some funny. All meaningful.
- If you go for a walk on the beach before 7am in your pj’s and no bra, not many people look at you, much less actually talk to you. But wear a sweet 7 mo. old baby and it’s like fruit flies attracted to overripe bananas.
- Talk to strangers. You know, the ones sitting next to you on the beach or at the pool. The second year we went to Myrtle my dad (who talks to EVERYBODY) started talking to this nice extended family sitting next to us on the beach and at the pool. The following year, they were there again, the same week we were. We forged an amazing friendship with this family over the years - the granddaughter (who was born 4 years later) was the flower girl in my wedding. We
became likeare family.
- And that wasn’t the only relationship forged either! That same year, my cousin Brandon and I were out on the beach one night and met a few guys. We spent the whole week together, hanging out during the day and evenings. We swapped addresses and wrote letters to each other. We ended up meeting back at Myrtle the following year and most years thereafter. We even had college visits, attended each other’s weddings and now we have kids we’re taking to Myrtle, starting a whole new generation of beach friends who never would have met if we didn’t talk to strangers.
- Water in your ear affects smell and sight. According to my husband. Example 1: Me: “All of this laundry I just washed today smells. Here, smell it.” Him: “I can’t smell anything. I have water in my ear.” Example 2: Me: “ADAM!! The light’s red and those cars are stopped!!!!!” Him: “I didn’t see the light was red. I have water in my ear.” I think it affects all brain function as well…
- 15 year old girls are pretty cool. Remember the flower girl? Well she has this amazing place in my girls’ hearts. At 15, when I would never have wanted to spend my beach vacation playing with two 5 and 8 year old little girls, she (and her friend!) takes my girls to the pool, for walks on the beach, to Starbuck’s for a mid-day treat. ALL without me even asking. Her kindness to my girls makes me cry. She’s amazing. And we love her.
- If I lived in one of the small rural towns in NC that we drove through, I would need a pool and a horse. And I’d run a little market on the side of street.
- Speaking of living near the beach, I’m ready to move there. But I’m not ready to leave my community. Wanna move there with me? Me, you and the beach. That would be ideal.
- Next year I’m getting a professional bikini wax before we head to Myrtle. Nuff said.
- I feel way more comfortable in a bathing suit than I have in years. More comfortable than I do in clothes most days. I’ll tell you why – in my tummy control bathing suit (thanks to winning a $100 gift card from Lands’ End during their partnership with Curvy Girl Guide for National Swimsuit Confidence Week) I don’t look 3 months pregnant. I DO look 3 months pregnant in 1/2 my clothes because they don’t suck in my tummy like jeans do. Maybe I should do some situps…
- Cheap beach store souvenirs are NOT worth the $0.99-$3 price tags. #1 dropped her $0.99 shell ring on the bathroom floor and it shattered. #2 broke her dolphin glitter globe by setting it on the table too hard. Oh the tears…
- It’s amazing how long you can drive through the night after drinking 36 oz. of caffienated beverages when you don’t drink caffiene regularly. WOWZA. I drove from 8pm – 3:30 am and felt like $1million 99% of my driving time. (Add some good music to the help also.)
- Driving through the pitch-black mountains of Virginia at 1am when your entire car is silent and there are no other cars on the interstate is kinda spooky. It’s REALLY spooky when you’re listening to Michael Jackson at the same time and “Thriller” comes on. (I’m sure it had nothing to do with how high on caffiene I was.)
I hope you are able to enjoy some type of annual vacation with your family, even if it’s camping. (We do that too!) It’s so worth scraping up some money each month to save for a trip that you look forward to each year. The memories are priceless.