Craig’s parents arrived here from Florida yesterday to spend the weekend with us. As we were catching up on our lives we began to share about their friends reactions to their Christmas card every year. They have fifteen grandkids! Their own four children got busy making one about every year. At the beach reunion I take a photo of them with all the kids and they always use it for their Christmas card. Their friends are always amazed that each year they are able to collect all of the kids at the beach, same time, same place, year after year. Let’s just say maybe they’re even a little jealous? Many of them have tried but failed to get their grown kids to meet at the beach for a week every year. It’s not an easy tradition to begin, because if it starts when they are all grown up no one is willing to be bothered with it every year.
Craig’s parents began taking their kids to the beach every year when they were little. As the daughter in laws were added to the family then they joined the crew. It wasn’t long before the children started to add up, and it just never occurred to anyone to suggest stop having the reunions every third week of July in the outer banks of North Carolina in an enormous house big enough to contain every last one of us.
That’s not to say there were years when it wasn’t entirely comfortable with each individual, or that the mother’s had to work so stinkin hard that we barely noticed it was supposed to be a vacation. That’s when we had to evaluate our motivation for making the long haul to the beach with four rowdy kids.
- We did it to honor Craig’s parents. We knew how important it was to them.
- We did it because the year began and ended for our kids when they could be with their cousins.
- Who can deny the perfection of the outer banks beaches?
- It wasn’t long before it bonked me in the head that as a mother of all boys who could very likely marry girls who would steal them away to their families that I ought to invest in my own hopes and dreams to have my kids, their wives and the grandchildren for a week every year at the beach.
That’s what we held onto during the difficult years when the pool was dangerous for the kids, and the ocean could steal our children from us in a single knee bend. We knew if they always remembered the great fun of spending a week with their cousins, they’d want that for their own children and be willing to be uncomfortable or even bothered a bit to make it happen.
I’m so thankful we persevered with the tradition. It is so exciting to see the cousins in their twenties now return as adults and enjoy all the cousins down to the little toddlers. Now it is relaxing for parents and rewarding to enjoy the strength of the relationships the cousins enjoy. And I do imagine my future with my sons and their kids at the beach every summer. Oh how life makes a big circle. I had no idea how fast it would happen, but here I am.
As we finished our conversation yesterday reminiscing about the cuteness of the cousins together on the Christmas card we had a good giggle because next year there will be all these fair skinned kids and one gorgeous black baby right in the middle of it all! Glory to God, this child will be welcomed into a family with roots so deeply bound in love that she will benefit profoundly from it’s richness her whole life. O I am so thankful to offer this to her.