When making New Year Resolutions for 2013, I has a long list, just like most people. But honestly, there was really only one thing on that list I wanted to do.
Get my family to the ocean.
I grew up by the ocean or within a (long) day's drive of the ocean my entire life. Being landlocked in Iowa is hard for this ocean girl, as much as I love this corn growing, prairie covered state. Monkey had no recollection of the ocean, having only been 18 months the last time he was there. Bug's memories were not much better.
It took a substantial amount of planning and preparation, but we were able to get nearly my entire family out to the Oregon Coast this summer. My parents, my grandmother, and nearly all my siblings. It made for a very crowded beach house, but this is how vacations should be.
The Oregon Coast is near and dear to my heart. It might not be a tropical get away. It might be gloomy and windy and misty and rainy a good proportion of the time (which it was). But this is where I vacationed frequently as a child.
The entire trip out to Oregon, I kept up a rambling list of all the things that I had done on the coast when I was little, and how we were going to do the same things. Body board in the frigid water! Find banana slugs! Make a fire on the beach! Go to tide pools! Pick blackberries! It was going to be the most magical, childhood defining week ever!
And do you know what? It really was. I wish I could share ever moment, all the hundreds of pictures that represent only a small portion of the memories we took away.
My children's faces when they saw the ocean for (almost) the first time. Their eagerness to feel the water.
Early morning outings to the tide pools to listen to the mussels click as the tide goes out and to gently poke at anemones.
Watching the sun set beyond the end of the earth and explaining the vastness of the ocean. Falling asleep with our windows open, letting the sound of the waves lull us to sleep.
Huddling around a beach fire, singing and telling jokes and eating slightly sandy hotdogs and marshmallows.
Flying kites in the stiff breeze off the Pacific. Running up and down the beaches in the soft, fine sand that we later find in every crease and fold of our bodies and clothes.
Exploring lighthouses and coves and pebble covered beaches. Seeing sea lions and pelicans and crabs.
In the end, we did everything we planned. There is a type of joy that comes from sharing your happiest childhood memories with your own children, a fierce, ecstatic joy that in almost beyond words.
It may have only been a week, but now I feel that at least a little of the salt water that has always been in my soul now also belongs to my children.