I learned a lot on our first family beach vacation. First, I learned that taking a child on his or her first beach vacation post-3 yrs old is almost cause for a DFCS visit.
Here are some others:
1. Old guys love to dole out parenting advice at resort pools: I’m ashamed to admit it, but my children still wear Puddle Jumpersat the pool. Yes my daughter is 5 and my boys are almost 4. We need to step up the swimming lessons.
But you, Mr. 73 yr old… I’d prefer you cast judgmental looks instead of the lecture, “You know they really should be out of those things. They should be swimming. The longer you wait, the harder it’ll get. Seriously. How old are they? That’s too old for those things.”
As if watching 3 yr old versions of Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin all around us wasn’t enough.
Thank you sir. Go have a daiquiri.
2. Sunrises make you think about God: I walked my boy Sam out to the sunrise viewing area. We sat on some rocks and I pointed out how a bit of light was sparkling out around a cloud–that the sun was coming up over the ocean. He said, “Jesus lives in the sky. When will we hear him talking, Daddy?”
We hadn’t been talking Jesus recently, but the sunset brought out his deepest theological questions.
3. Cell phones might be the most evil bits of plastic, glass, and metal on earth: I could NOT for the life of me fully check out from work. I did pretty good for a few hours at a time. But then there was an email. It’s more of a ‘me’ problem. One that I must get figured out.
4. Kids on vacation alternately want to go home and want to stay: When Sam or Jake got surprised by a particularly strong wave, calls for home rang out. But on our way home, all they said was that they wanted to go back to ‘Aunt Melissa’s house’ located at 909 Club at Hammock Beach. Unfortunately, Aunt Melissa actually lives with my brother (Uncle Aaron) in Augusta.
5. My wife would make an incredible project manager: Seriously. It was amazing to see her prep for the trip.
6. I Have a New Goal: Have enough of these types of vacations so I’m not scared to have help from the bellhop for fear of being a bad (or overly good) tipper. Since they helped us bring our car back from a dead battery, I came close to handing over my wallet.
7. Golf is better when the course is right next to the ocean: Even if you lose a whole box of balls and three stolen range balls.
8. Our kids are just as good and just as bad as most other kids:Sometimes, we assume our children are the worst behaved children in the world (my apologies to the folks who stayed in rooms 214 and 216 at the Exit 16 Hampton Inn in Valdosta–my children’s first hotel stay). Sometimes, also, we assume our children are the best. We’re right on both counts. Sometimes they are the best in the room. Sometimes they are the worst. In the end, all of us parents are doing our best.
Simply, as parents, we need to work at steady improvement as much as we try to get in better shape, make more sales, or excel in whatever hobby we’ve decided is vital to our existence.
9. Footwear is important: I’ve been playing golf wearing shoes I bought for a charity golf tournament when I first moved to Destin, FL to be a youth pastor back in 1999. When the rubber spikes started disintegrating into the golf cart during my last attempt at the sport, I decided I needed new shoes.
I got these Puma Jiggs (the kids helped me to decide between them and these Adidas–both comfy, only one had a cat on it, hence the kids’ decision). Golf was so much nicer wearing shoes that didn’t cause pain.
On other other hand, these Champion slip ons from Target rubbed the top of my feet raw. Combine that with salt water and sand and yeeeaaaawww! I don’t recommend them.
10. Playing is the best way to get exercise: I think I body surfed 127 waves. I felt like I was 12 or 13 playing down at Anna Maria Island during my summers visiting Mommy Mac and Daddy Mac in Bradenton, FL. It was an absolute blast! And I felt healthy, you know?
It was also fun seeing my boys: “Daddy, we’ve never seen water like this! This is the best water!!!!!”
That’s enough for today. I also had an ABSOLUTE BLAST! Thanks so much to my brother and sister-in-law for inviting us to join them for a couple days. Aunt Melissa’s ‘house’ was seriously a place of fun and rest.
If you’re looking for a fun vacation off the beaten path, check out Hammock Beach. Beautiful, self-contained vacation experience.